Photo by Efrem Efre (Pexels)

Celebrated annually on June 6th, ‘Swedish National Day’, also known as ‘Svenska Flaggans Day’ (Swedish Flag Day), is a public holiday that commemorates two historical anniversaries: the coronation of King Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the ratification of the modern constitution on this day in 1809, which established a separation of governmental power. Although some historians may point to other key dates as better examples of the foundation of the state, the election of King Gustav is considered to mark the foundation of modern Sweden as it did signify the end of the Danish-ruled Kalmar Union, accurately marking Swedish independence. June 6th is also notable as on that date in 1809, the ‘Instrument of Government’ was adopted, forming a key part of Sweden’s constitution. June 6th is also the day when new Swedish citizens receive their official documents. Rather surprisingly, it only became a public holiday in 2005, and the tradition of celebrating this date is also not that old: it was first celebrated in 1893 at the Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm, and by the 1910s celebrations were being held at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium. The holiday was known as ‘Swedish Flag day‘ up to 1983, and ‘National Day’ was only a public holiday for banks and civil servants until 2005, when the Swedish government decreed that the new holiday would take ‘Whit Monday’s place. ‘National Day’ is celebrated with parades, marching bands and local folk band performances; the King and Queen of Sweden normally take part in a ceremony at the Skansen, with children in traditional peasant costumes presenting the royal couple with bouquets of summer flowers. Although the current flag was adopted on June 22nd 1906, ‘National Day’ is also ‘Sweden’s Flag Day’: at the royals presence, the yellow and blue Swedish flag is run up the mast, the blue and yellow colours of the cross being based on the Swedish coat of arms (three gold crowns in a blue field), dating back to the 14th century.