The Swedish National Day: This Is How & Why Swedes Celebrate June 6th

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The Swedish National Day is here!

No matter how and where you might be celebrating, we hope you do it well. As with many of the Swedish celebrations, the Swedes know how to celebrate them, but not always why. That, however, does not apply to the Swedish National Day. This day is celebrated first and foremost thanks to Gustav Vasa, Sweden’s first real king, and you better believe the Swedes know it and know it with pride.

THE HISTORY

The history of Sweden’s National Day dates back all the way back to the 1500s. It was on June 6, 1523, that Gustav Vasa rode into Uppsala Domkyrka to be crowned king and subsequently liberated Sweden from the Kalmar Union, which at that time was comprised of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Prepare for a journey back in time to June 6, 1523, and the charismatic Gustav Vasa riding into Uppsala Domkyrka. What’s the occasion? None other than his coronation as the king of Sweden. This remarkable event marked the liberation of Sweden from the Kalmar Union, a union encompassing Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Fast forward 500 years and Sweden still celebrates this occasion in the most festive and patriotic way.

It was also on the 6th of June 1809, that Sweden experienced another monumental event. The nation adopted a new constitution, marking a significant turning point as political power was restored to the Riksdag.

THE CELEBRATION

It wasn’t until Sweden dissolved their union with Norway that Swedes started calling the 6th of June the “Swedish Flag Day”. It would, however, take almost 100 years for the Swedish parliament to recognize the day as an official holiday. In 2004, the parliament finally voted on the 6th of June to become the Swedish National holiday.

The earliest known National Day celebration came as an idea from Artur Hazelius, the visionary behind Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in Sweden. In the 1890s, he began organizing celebrations on June 6th, and to this day, Skansen remains the favorite destination for Stockholmers and even the Swedish Royal Family to revel in the festivities of the Swedish National Day.

HOW TO CELEBRATE

As one might expect of any Independence Day or National Day, there are plenty of celebrations all across the country. The most famous celebration takes place at Skansen, where the King and Queen of Sweden join the enthusiastic crowds in commemoration.  Some Swedes may even dust off their national costume and wear it to the festivities.

The Swedish Royal family celebrating the national day at Skansen. Photo credit: Jessica Gow/TT

But the 6th of June is not only a celebration for Swedes, but also a significant milestone for thousands of individuals becoming new Swedish citizens. On this day auspicious occasion, citizenship ceremonies are held throughout the country, where eager individuals are sworn in and presented with their certificates of citizenship.

Are you planning to celebrate Sweden’s National Day? Let us know how you celebrate in the comments below, and Glad Nationaldag!

This article was originally published on June 6, 2020. 

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