Summer in the Scandinavian countries is like one long celebration. Adding to the festival-like atmosphere is the parade of National Days running from May to June. Sweden’s National Day (Sveriges nationaldag) is June 6th, only one day after Denmark’s.
Previously called Swedish Flag Day (Svenska flaggans dag), the Swedish Parliament changed the name to its current form in 1983.
The day commemorates the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the end of the Kalmar Union (Kalmarunionen), wherein Denmark, Norway and Sweden were brought together under a common monarch. Though all three were still considered sovereign states under the Union, their foreign and domestic policies were run under the same umbrella. On the same day in 1809, Sweden adopted its Constitution.
Sveriges nationaldag was declared a public holiday in Sweden in 2005. Though the celebrations throughout Sweden are relatively subdued, an annual event takes place at Skansen, the open-air museum in Stockholm, where children present the Swedish King and Queen with flowers, then the flag is raised.
In Sweden, this is also considered a day to welcome new immigrants to the country. It’s a lovely way to celebrating a national identity; the recognition that, in fact, your national identity is a living thing, made up of the people who call Sweden home.
Happy National Day to Swedes, native and new!