National day & Midsummer
National Day on June 6 is one of our newest holidays.
The reason why Sweden celebrates National Day on June 6 is that it was the date in 1523 that Gustav Vasa was crowned Swedish king and the union with Denmark was dissolved. In many municipalities on National Day, ceremonies are organized for new Swedes who during the year became Swedish citizens. These ceremonies, at which citizen’s certificates are awarded, are often solemn and framed by artist performances. But despite the fact that the Swedish flag day and national day have been included in the calendar for most of the 20th century, there are not many other traditions attached to the day.
The King and Queen attend ceremonies annually at various locations around Sweden. The blue-yellow flag is hoisted and people dress in folk costumes.
Midsummer Eve is always placed on a Friday, it is the big gatherings weekend that is often celebrated in the countryside together with family and friends. In midsummer, the Swedish summer is light green and the nights are most bright. In northern Sweden, the sun never sets at this time of year.
The day often starts with people pick flowers and tie wreaths to the leafy bar that belongs to midsummer. The midsummer bar is raised in open space and around it is then performed traditional games and dances.
Typical midsummer food is herring with fresh, dill cooked potato, sour cream and red onion. Even something grilled, maybe ribs or salmon and the summer’s first strawberries with cream for dessert. Cold beer and snaps, which may well be seasoned, are served to the food. The snaps drinking gives a reason for singing and the Swedes like their snaps songs.
Many go to dance in the evening, where traditional dance bands are playing. According to the old saying, the girls should pick 7 kinds of flowers on their way home and put them under the pillow, the future man should then show up in their dreams.