The National Day is a holiday most Swedes look forward to all year. On June 6, Swedes come together, paint their faces blue and yellow, watch traditional performances, listen to the King’s speech, and enjoy a picnic – a typical national day celebration. But most importantly, it marks the beginning of summer for many.
However, this year things are a little different. Sweden’s royal family will not be celebrating at Skansen, the open-air museum, which is a long-standing tradition.
“Some members of the royal family will be involved in a television broadcast, but they will not physically be at Skansen due to the recommendations and restrictions that are from the Public Health Authority,” notes Margareta Thorgren, Head of Information for the Royal family. The unfortunate cancellation was due to safety measures and social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Swedish National Day Foundation is responsible for the official National Day celebration and has decided that there will be no celebration at Skansen with the public this year. SVT will nevertheless broadcast a TV program that includes raising the Swedish flag, speeches, a rendition of the national anthem, and various performances.
Typically, National Day usually starts with the opening of the royal palace. Members of the royal family go out to join Swedes in the national day celebrations. The day is then rounded off with a televised celebration from Skansen, where a star-studded concert takes place.
Without Skansen, what will the National Day celebration look like this year?
“It won’t be like before. It is usually celebrated at Skansen and afterwards there is a reception at the royal palace. [This year,] it will not be,” noted Margareta Thorgren.
She continued, “We have a plan A, which is a plan based on several scenarios. There are changes all the time, [and we must] follow the authorities… Gathering around National Day and celebrating our country is perhaps more important than ever. At the same time, it is a state of emergency, for which one must take the highest responsibility.”
SVT’s live broadcast on June 6 will be led by hosts Anne Lundberg and Tara Moshizi, and musical artists from all over the country will also participate.
“We will still make a TV program, [but this year it will] look a little different.” says Anne Lundberg.
How will you be celebrating National Day this year? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image: Sören Andersson/TT