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Beyond the Lone Islands

Sunday, 6 June 2010

6 June – National Day of Sweden

The Swedish flag (this is not my own picture, but the ones below are)



Our tradition of celebrating 6 June as National Day is not very old. It is said to have begun in 1916, even if the date chosen goes back to the year 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected king: an event which re-established Sweden as an independent country after having been in union with Denmark and Norway since 1397.

Some later political events in the history of the nation have also taken place on the same date. It was however only as recently as in 2005 that 6 June was proclaimed an official Swedish public holiday – and instead we lost Whit Monday (the Monday after Pentecost), which many people would have preferred to keep, since that always gave a long weekend.


This year, 6 June fell on a Sunday, so no extra day off… But it was a beautiful sunny day, and a lot of people gathered for a celebration in the park – with parade, music, singing, speech and flag-waving.



The Swedish National Anthem:

Even though I always have difficulties remembering all the lyrics to our national anthem – and also find them a bit pompous - yet on a beautiful summer day like this, the song can still make my heart swell and bring tears to my eyes…

Here’s a translation I found on the internet:

Thou ancient, thou free,
thou mountainous North,
Thou quiet, thou joyful beauty!
I greet Thee, most beautiful land upon earth!
Thy sun, Thy sky, Thine meadows green!
Thy sun, Thy sky, Thine meadows green!
Thou throne upon memories of great olden days,
When honoured thy name flew over the world,
I know that thou art and wilt be as thou wert!
Yes, I want to live I want to die in the North!
Yes, I want to live I want to die in the North!

You may notice that the song does not even mention “Sweden”, instead it speaks of The North. Attempts have been made from time to time to exchange it for a new one, but no success.


Ginny said...

You have the most georgous flag EVER!!! I love everything about it. And those blue and yellow ballons are so pretty, too! I love this post because it's so pretty, and I learned a lot. This day is pretty much like our Fourth Of July. I read about Gustav, and he sounds like a character, pretty intimidating! The anthem is very pretty, I did see how it says The North! I also am noticing how so many of the flag carriers are older?

Sandra said...

i watched the flag bearers photo while listening to the song, the next best thing to being there. the words are touching. I think you live in a wonderful town, or city or whatever you call them there.

Don said...

I work with a Hultberg. I think I see her kin among the many fair skinned blondies marching. (She's loaded with freckles, something I only recently notice. Is that common?)

Enjoyed the post.

DawnTreader said...

Ginny, you notice more things than I did. I did not pay attention to the age of the flag bearers. There were people of all ages in the parade though, there was also a children's choir singing as part of the programme. I didn't get a picture of them because at that point we were at the back of the crowd having ice cream... ;)

Sandra, in Swedish we have one word covering town/city. Not always easy to decide which English word to choose.

Don, I remember you mentioning your Swedish colleague before. Yes, fair-skinned and blond is traditionally considered typically Swedish/Scandinavian. Freckles are not uncommon but I associate them primarily with people of red(dish) hair type. These days however so many people of all ages dye their hair so you hardly know the natural colours of anyone... ;)

jeannette said...

Thank you Monika for sharing your national holiday! Always great to see the festivities from each country!


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