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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 6 November 2009

6th November - Another Strange Celebration

Yesterday I had a post re the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Night in Britain on 5th November. Actually I even had two posts about it, because the one in this blog referred to another one at my Spectrespecs blog. I also enjoyed finding out a bit more about it at Scriptor Senex's blog. One of my comments about the Bonfire Night in Britain was that I never quite managed to get whether Fawkes is regarded as villain or hero. Sometimes over the centuries we sort of tend to forget and mix up the roots of our holidays...

Today on 6th November in Sweden (and Finland), we actually also have a rather unusual celebration of a deathday. For reasons not really more clear to me than the British Guy Fawkes celebrations, we today commemorate the fact that in 1632, king Gustav II Adolf of Sweden (after his death also called Gustav Adolf the Great) "was killed at the Battle of Lützen, when, at a crucial point in the battle, he became separated from his troops while leading a cavalry charge into a dense smog of mist and gunpowder smoke". (Wikipedia)

6th November has been celebrated since the early 19th century. Not only is it a flag day; there is even a special fancy cake in honour of Gustav II Adolf, with his head in chocolate on it:

I did not buy one - but being reminded of it by an article in the morning newspaper today, and then seeing some such cakes for sale in the supermarket... made me realize that it's not only American-Tejas-Mexas Halloween habits that are very strange! So, confession directed at Rae @ Us in Tejas (her H'ween '09 post): We actually eat cakes with dead people on them in Sweden, too! Only we do it a week later...!!!

To compete with Scriptor's post about The Dark Lantern (linked to above), I will also throw in the curious fact that after the death of Gustav II Adolf, his wife initially kept his body, and later his heart, in her castle for over a year. His remains (including his heart) now rest in Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm. (Wikipedia)



rae said...

I like it!

jeannette stgermain said...

Oh boy, keeping your husband's dead heart for a year...Anyway, it does tell that she loved and missed him!

Dan Felstead said...

I like your comment about how he became Gustav the "great" after his death! The cake looks good too!


GB said...

It seems that every nation has to have a bizarre national ritual of some sort.

DawnTreader said...

Yes. 6th Nov is not really a "big" celebration here, but since there really aren't any big ones all autumn, we grasp at whatever straws (cakes) we can possibly find...


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