Celebratory weekend for both Danes and Swedes.
June fifth and sixth turn out to have struck a doubly festive weekend in southernmost Sweden. On Friday, June 4, everybody celebrated simply because the work week had ended, but more significantly on Saturday, June 5, Danes celebrate their Constitution Day and on Sunday, June 6, Swedes have a red-numbered day on their calendars that indicates their recently-dedicated National Day.

The holiday was officially proclaimed as Sweden's National Holiday, somewhat corresponding to the American Fourth of July, only 16 years ago.

All of Sweden's 9.3 million residents and also an estimated 250,000 Swedish citizens who are living abroad are expected to take part in some sort of commemoration, ceremony, dinner or toasting round on Sunday.

Explanations for the selection of June 6 for the holiday remain somewhat murky. The day itself like every single one on Swedish calendars has its name dubbed to be "Gustaf," and this same handle applies in various forms to many of Sweden's kings in historic times. However, the most plausible reason is that, in 1623, the nation's first modern monarch, Gustav Wasa, was proclaimed regent of the nation that he liberated (from Danes) and founded.

However, the Swedish "Fourth of July" holiday itself has not yet come into full bloom - or acceptance - by the entire population. Some object to its existence on grounds that patriotic "nationalism" (following World War II's Nazi propaganda) negatively taints the whole holiday concept.

Many union members object that they receive no weekdays free from work on those years when the holiday falls on a weekends. Merchandisers and event planners admit it will take a number of years before the holiday takes a serious form of marketable tradition, even so much as to see the state's liquor stores become jam-packed on the day or two beforehand, as is customary with nearly all other designated Swedish holidays.

In the southernmost provinces of Skåne, Blekinge, Småland, Halland and thereabouts live some 180,000 Danish citizens who have moved back across the Öresund straits into what was (until 1658) their own nation's northern territories. Present day estimates figure another 64,000 who are residents of Sweden have one parent who was born in Denmark, but no conjectures could guess how many thousands more would simply be traveling over to Sweden across the Öresund Bridge for the weekend.

Even before this quick and convenient passageway was opened ten years ago, Danes frequently took a break from Copenhagen's hustle and bustle to enjoy countryside living. Now, the numbers of Danish vacationers has nearly tripled in Sweden's south regions.

Today, thousands live in Skåne and commute across the straits to work. Official ledgers show that in the Skånish cities of Malmö, Bjuv, Örkelljunga and Klippan, some three percent of the population is comprised of Danish citizens.

Last year, 3,000 Danes moved to Sweden while 1,500 Swedes moved to Denmark. Concurrently 2,300 Danes moved back home and, in both directions, around 8,600 Swedes and an equal number of Danes commuted by highway each day across the Öresund Bridge to their jobs.

The Danish holiday, much older as celebration than their Northern brethren's holiday, was founded in 1849 when the Danes penned their first constitution. However, some seasoned census takers who are familiar with "Danish-ness" calculated that at least 100% of Denmark along with a generous portion of their Swedish cousins, friends and acquaintances would use the Saturday Constitution Day holiday as another reason for having a great, double holiday weekend.

Terry Blunk, Swedish by choice