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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- “Holidays in Sweden” Series at SwedishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Swedish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 8, National Day of Sweden. In Swedish, it’s called Sveriges nationaldag.
Ever since the year of 1916, The National Day of Sweden has been celebrated on June 6.
In this lesson you will learn about why June 6 became Sweden's National Day, and some other curious things relating to this day.
Now, before we get into more detail, let’s see if you know the answer to this question:
Sweden's National Day is also a “salute day”, in which the 21-gun salute is fired as a symbol of honor and respect. Do you know the names of the other five salute days in Sweden?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Sweden’s National Day is celebrated on June 6. This is partly because it is the date when Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden in 1523 and Sweden became an independent country, and partly because it is the date Duke Charles also signed the new 1809 Constitution Act, or Den nya regeringsformen. Initially the day was called Swedish Flag Day, or flaggdag, but in 1983 it was decided that June 6 would also be considered to be a national day.
The idea of celebrating Swedish Flag Day came from a man named Nils Ljunggren while he served in the militias during the summer of 1915. The initial idea was that it would be celebrated in Stockholm in the fall of 1915, but they didn't think an outdoor celebration in late autumn would be so practical. And so, they decided to celebrate Swedish Flag Day on June 6 instead. The idea of the celebration was to raise money to go towards the militias.
Since 2005, The National Day of Sweden has become a national holiday, or nationell helgdag. One of the reasons for making National Day a holiday was that many immigrants were surprised that the Swedes did not celebrate their national day. In Sweden, the National Day is not actually celebrated very much. Some may raise the Swedish flag, or svenska flaggan, and some may eat sandwich cake, but most people don’t do anything at all. There are many people who think that Midsummer should be Sweden's national day instead, since it’s a day that has been celebrated for a long time and has been a bigger part of Swedish culture.
Since Sweden made National Day a public holiday, they have in turn removed Whit Monday, or Annandag pingst, as a public holiday. Whit always falls on a Monday, but since June 6 can occur even on a weekend, this means the Swedes sometimes lose a day off!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question.
Sweden's National Day is also a “salute day”. Do you know the names of the other five salute days in Sweden?
The answers are – the King's name day, the King's birthday, the Crown Princess's birthday, the Queen's name day, and the Queen’s birthday. At the salute, 21 shots are fired with a cannon at a five-second interval.
How did you find this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate the National Day in your country?
Leave us a comment letting us know at SwedishPod101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!