Sweden celebrates National Day

sweden1With Swedes across the world fresh from celebrating National Day on Sunday 6th June, here is a look at the history behind the holiday.

In 1523, the Rikstag parliament elected Gustav Vasa to the royal throne as King on June 6. His rule was both oppressive and brutal, but he is credited with establishing an independent, centralised country that grew to be a major force in European politics in the 17th century, Stockholm News reports.

Having been in union since 1397 with Norway and Denmark, the Swedish nobility grew tired of what they felt was a coalition that mainly benefitted the Danish. Gustav Vasa was one of the first to coordinate uprisings against Christian II. The former Danish King is today referred to as Christian the Tyrant by Swedes and Christian the Great by Danes.

Also taking place on 6th June almost 300 years later in 1809, was the signing of the first modern Swedish constitution, which saw the abolition of royal absolutism and power split between different institutions.

The Swedish National Day has only been formally celebrated since 1983, with 6th June formally known as ‘the day of the Swedish flag’. Modern celebrations include the closure of offices and schools since a public holiday was implemented in 2005 – although this year the day fell on a Sunday.

Celebrations are somewhat more reserved for the Swedish National Day than in similar events in other countries. This is thought to be partly due to the fact that the holiday is fairly new, but also because the historic events surrounding 6th June are particularly distant to modern Swedes.

Stockholm News said that the crowning of Gustav Vasa and a new constitution are not events that generate widespread public enthusiasm, adding that Sweden has never been occupied and an imminent threat has not been faced for centuries.

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