Something Swedish

Swedens National Day

8 Comments

Blue and yellow flags everywhere you look- Swedish pride is soaring today!

Even Google Waved its Swedish Flag!

Sweden celebrates June 6th because it marks the date when Gustav Vasa became King in 1523, making Sweden independent from Denmark and Norway for the first time. Also, on June 6th in 1809 Sweden adopted a new constitution.  Sveriges Nationaldag is a new name for the holiday, from 1916-1983 it was called Svenska flaggans dag (Swedish Flag day). This National Day has only recently become a red day, meaning a day off, since 2005. Swedes are known for not being overly boastful, so in an effort to make the holiday more popular the government decided to make it a red day so the people have the day off to celebrate. Being so new, many surveys have revealed that many Swedes still don’t know how to observe it and just enjoy the day off. Some people celebrate by watching the Royal family’s ceremony in Stockholm. Most people consider Mid Summer to be their national day for celebration.

Today I went out in hopes of finding something special for the occasion – but was only met with closed stores and empty streets. Red days make Halmstad a ghost town, but I was determined to do something to celebrate my first Nationaldag in Sweden. I decided to play Swedish Flag Scavenger Hunt in town.

I thought it would be a good day to visit one of my favorite places, an open air museum with old Swedish cottages. It is up on a high “mountain” which gives a great view of the city. To my delight, this is exactly where the rest of the town was! I finally found the celebration – and people, and flag jackpot! I couldn’t understand the speeches or songs, but  I didn’t need to. Just seeing everyone waving Swedish flags, listening, laughing, clapping, and being proud was enough.

Years ago there was a competition to create the national pastry to be eaten on this very special day,  it is called Nationaldagsbakelsen. But many people don’t know about it, it seems. Even googling for it is a challenge. All I can gather is that there are Strawberries and Almond paste. In hopes to eat this national specialty I went to the bakery in the morning, thinking it would be much like the semla craze, but alas the bakery was closed along with all other stores since it is a red day. No wonder this cake is so elusive and unknown, how should one be introduced to a special cake if the bakeries are closed on the day you should be eating it? Of course, there are recipes and perhaps people buy it the day before?

I decided to make my own version:

I might have cheated with a small premade snake cake (perfect size for two people who love cake), but I cut it in half and added a nice layer of Almond paste to make it special and even more Swedish. If it was a full size cake I would have added strawberry slices around the flag of blueberries and banana, but I think it was a huge success! Hubby came home with blue and (unbloomed) yellow flowers and a wooden Swedish flag so I have a keepsake from my first Nationaldag!

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8 thoughts on “Swedens National Day

  1. Yeah, was pretty cool. The author Sara Beischer talked about taking responsibility for society. She said it wasn’t cool that there were 24 preschoolers to one teacher and to do something about it. (She’s right. My wife works at a preschool and the ratio is about 5 to 1.)

  2. I love the photo of the cute older couple in traditional dress! Maybe someday that will be you and your husband? 🙂

    • Since they were older I had to use my Swedish on them, which came out completely lopsided. I walked up to them as they were leaving, and only the man heard me. The woman kept walking away, I said in a rush, because I didn’t want the woman to escape: “Excuse me, can I have a photo of those. Them. this. you…both.” I just couldn’t find the word for subjected “You’s” (Which is proper in Swedish). So I started pointing to the woman,, and he called her back.

  3. Interesting post – I love that you went on a Swedish Flag Scavenger Hunt 🙂 You captured the elderly couple beautifully in their national dress and your cake looks delicious. Happy Sveriges Nationaldag!

    • The hunt was fun- I found more flags than I posted, of course, but it sure is hard to get good photos of flags on an unwindy day! They either limply lay around or decide to tangle around their pole – after a while of the waiting game you need to just walk away; staring at at flag after flag for five minutes each feels strange.

  4. I like the picture of the older couple too! 🙂 You and Esbie should wear traditional costumes! 🙂

  5. Pingback: The Magic of Midsummer « Something Swedish

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