Monday, June 6, 2011

Celebrating Swedish National Day Like A True Swede

Ok, I give up. In the past I've made a bit to-do about June 6th. I've thrown big barbeques, hoisted flags, attended ceremonies at various places, tried to get my colleagues and clients involved in my Swedish national day celebration, or flag day, or whatever you want to call June 6th in Sweden.

But this year? I decided to go Swedish and treat June 6th like any other random red day ( because what do you really do to celebrate 'the day after pentecost' - which used to be a holiday day in Sweden until it was replaced by June 6).

Today we did nice Swedish things, took a hike, enjoyed 'the nature' and ate ice cream. But more we did not.

I am not quite sure why there is no big 'horray for Sweden day.' Maybe because June 6 was a day in the 1500s that Sweden became independent and, well, that was long enough ago for people to take their independence for granted. The 6th doesn't mark a major historical milestone like July 4th, Bastille day, Norweigian national day, etc. It's just a random day.

Also national pride in Sweden is a strange beast. Sure, Swedes are proud of their country. Rightly so. But many seem to confuse the concepts of nationalism and patriotism and find flag waving just plain embarrassing if not racist.

Strangely enough it is mostly we immigrants, in my experience, that seem to want to get out and celebrate Sweden. Maybe it's because we have such patriotic traditions in our own home countries. Maybe it's because we want to show our gratitude to our new home.

Only recently has more emphasis been placed on the celebration of June 6th in Sweden and I hope that means that we are still building and establishing these new traditions.

But maybe it is a good thing just to enjoy a day off, I never did much more than BBQ on July 4th.

PS I am still posting from my phone, so please bear with my editing issues, I hope to have it resolved soon. If anyone knows of a good app for posting with blogger from an iPhone please let me know!


  1. I think the celebration of the swedish national day has not yet caught up with people. Traditions have not yet been quite established. It has just been marked a red day since 2005 after all and it did not even become the national day until 1983 before that it was just the flag day. But slowly it seems like celebrating this day is staring to pick up. We decided to head to the royal palace and check out what was going on there and it turned out really nice day. I loved seeing so many people walking around with their Swedish flags in their hands. But it is kind of sad that still most people don't celebrate in any proper way.

  2. For my American friends and family I always say that midsummer is like 4th of July, especially as in the three years I have been with my husband this year is the first he mentioned anything about June 6. Either way though for me a day off and a named holiday will be a reason to celebrate because I am American and we love a holiday!

  3. As opposed to us swedes..?

  4. June 6th will never become more than just another excuse for party/drinking/sleeping late or whatever. Midsummer is Swedens National day.

  5. Ja, jag vet, sist du skrev var 2011, det var länge sedan nu, och mycket av det du skriver har kanske ändrats med tiden. Förstår om amerikaner, som jämför sig själva med svenskar, måste tycka att vi är oändligt tråkiga och trista, precis som många svenskar som underskattar sig själva och sin nationalitet. Varför vet jag inte. Varje land har ju sin prägel. Vi borde vara stolta över oss själva, som är ett fredligt folk, och vårt vackra land. Mycket har ju ändrats i Sverige de sista åren och vi är som alla andra utsatta för terrordåd och våld på olika sätt. Hoppas att du lärt dig att se på vårt folk och land på ett litet mer tilltalande sätt ju mer du lärt känna oss. Eller du har kanske flyttat tillbaka till US där jag också bott. - Nu skrivs det här på svenska och inte engelska. Jag förmodar du lärt dig språket sedan 2011. Önskar dig allt gott!