For once I’m lucky and the theme of an American celebration actually coincides (more or less) with the Swedish equivalent.
In Sweden we celebrate Flag Day on 6th June. In 1983 the day was promoted to National Day, but no one paid much attention to that until 2005 when it was also made a proper holiday.
I think most of us still hardly know exactly what it is we’re supposed to be celebrating. But hey, give us a day off and add a bit of sunshine and we don’t mind waving a few flags and listening to music and a speech in the town park.
It’s not that we’re not proud of our nation; it’s more a question of not having a specific date for its beginning.
6th June is the day when king Gustav Vasa or Gustav I of Sweden was crowned back in 1523. But the list of kings who ruled both Svealand/ ‘Sweden’ and Götaland/ ‘Gothia’ goes back to around 970. And before that, those two as separate nations go back even further.
Blue and yellow have been used as the colours of _Sweden at least since 1275.
According to legend, a 12th century Swedish king Eric the Holy saw a golden cross in the sky as he landed in Finland during the First Swedish Crusade in 1157. Seeing this as a sign from God he adopted the golden cross against a blue background as his banner. There are however no contemporary sources about the crusade, and no pictures or descriptions of the flag until the mid 16th century (i.e. the reign of king Gustav I mentioned above).
Anyway – the flag as well as the nation is quite old!
Some standard bearers have a dress code, others apparently do not.
Swedish national costume. This is a sort of “compromise” costume developed from a wide variety of traditional folk costumes.
Not a lot of people were wearing folk costumes on this day. Even the few who might have one in their wardrobe may have hesitated to put it on, since it was an unusually hot day (30°C/86°F in the shadow and foreboding thunder).
That was Monday. Since then there has been thunder and rain, and now we’re back to 13°C/55°F (and rain). That’s Swedish summer in a nutshell – you never know! Since today is graduation day for a lot of students, I feel a bit sorry for them.