It’s Swedens national day today. There will hardly be celebrations here. Up until 2005 the 6th of June was flag day but since then it was decided it should be the national day and a holiday. At the same time Annandag Pingst (Whit Monday wikipedia tells me) lost its status as a holiday because the employers union in sweden thought having a new national holiday would be to costly.
Thing is, june 6th doesn’t really mean squat in swedish history. No independence war was won this day, in fact they had to dig really deep into history to come up with some excuse for this day to become the national day.
On this day in 1523 Gustav Vasa was officially elected king of Sweden, dissolving the Kalmarunionen. Back then Sweden lacked the landscapes of Skåne, Blekinge, Halland, Bohuslän, Härjedalen and Jämtland (Skåne was the last of the above to be conquered (from Denmark)).
But since we swedes get another excuse to enjoy our national pastime, binge drinking, most people are OK with it.
Oh yeah, one of the reasons to get an official national day was that immigrants thought it strange that we didn’t have one. Meanwhile, the swedes continue to feel a sense of closeted shame over living in a country where everything strives to be equal and lagom. Although almost a hundred years of rule by the social democrats have worked out quite well so in fairness I don’t think we should be ashamed.
The image above is from famous swedish artist Carl Johan De Geer. It says “cock”, “desecrate the flag”, “refuse arms” (a way to avoid conscription), “betray your country”, “be un-national”. I think it speaks for itself.