June 6, Sweden's National Day
For a long time Sweden was perhaps the only country in the world with no official national day, which may be fairly symptomatic of the Swedes' general skepticism of patriotic manifestations. On the other hand, there are few countries in the world where private flag poles are as common as in Sweden, and both on June 6 and other “public flag days,” such as Midsummer Day, the blue and yellow flags will be seen fluttering in most gardens, outside country cottages and from tower block balconies.

Also called the day of Gustav Vasa it was initially - from the 19th century - to honor June 6, 1523, the day Gustav Vasa was elected Sweden’s King, and the Kalmar Union was finally dissolved. Gustav Vasa, born Gustav Eriksson or colloquially Gösta Jerksson, lead the rebellion against Christian II of Denmark, the leader of the Kalmar Union who controlled most of Sweden at the time. He was the first native Swedish sovereign and was considered a liberator of the country.

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The events made Sweden a sovereign state once again and are generally considered the foundation of modern Sweden.

The new constitution and government proclamation of 1809 was also made on June 6, as was the proclamation of 1974. Although celebrated as a Flag Day, it was not until 1983 that June 6 officially became the national day and noted the moderation of nationalism whereby the national day was still for many years a regular working day.

The Riksdagen – Sweden’s parliament – made June 6 a national holiday in 2004. The decision made the third day of Whit, Whit Monday (following Whit Sunday or Pentecost), into an ordinary day and Swedes got a longer work week at the Whitsun holidays beginning in 2005. June 6 then became a day off no matter what day it falls on.

While celebrations on June 6 itself may be low-key when compared with our July 4 in the U.S., there will be celebrations in many parts of Swedish America - check http://www.nordstjernan.com/calendar/ for a celebration near you.

The Swedish National Anthem

In Swedish
Du gamla, du fria, du fjällhöga Nord,
du tysta, du glädjerika sköna!
Jag hälsar dig, vänaste land uppå jord,
din sol, din himmel, dina ängder gröna,
din sol, din himmel, dina ängder gröna.

Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar,
då ärat ditt namn flög över jorden.
Jag vet, att du är och du blir vad du var.
Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden!
Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden!

In English
Thou ancient, thou freeborn, thou mountainous North,
In beauty and peace our hearts beguiling,
I greet thee, thou loveliest land on the earth,
Thy sun, thy skies, thy verdant meadows smiling.
Thy sun, thy skies, thy verdant meadows smiling.

Thy throne rests on mem’ries from great days of yore,
When worldwide renown was valour’s guerdon.
I know to thy name thou art true as before.
Oh, I would live and I would die in Sweden,
Oh, I would live and I would die in Sweden.

Listen to the music:
Click for link to melody only