June 6th is Sweden’s national day. The equivalent of the 4th of July in the US. Except for the whole independence thing. And fireworks. And rodeos. And hotdog eating contests. And all of that all-American stuff. Actually, this whole 6th of June thing is kind of new to Swedes. It was just recently that it became an official red day. In fact, I believe it replaced one more of those Easter related holidays that Swedes are so fond of, Pingst, or as all English speakers know it as, the ever popular Whitsunday. Seven weeks after Easter of course.
But instead of rodeos, fireworks, and hotdog eating contests what makes the news in Sweden on the 6th of June is neo-Nazis trying to hijack it and turn it into some perverted display of the need for Swedish purity. Swedish nationalism at its best really. After they started paying homage to Hitler police stepped in. Turns out that over 100 were arrested for racial agitation.
So while some people just were pumped to have a day off from work, some beautiful weather, maybe a trip to Skansen to see the Swedish royal family, others took the time to light cars on fire and fight with the anti-facists. Good times all around really.
On a happy note though, over 50,000 yellow and blue balloons were released near Stockholm’s castle. And I’m sure that pleased the neo-Nazis and anti-facists, because nearly everyone loves balloons. The green party may not have been too thrilled but come on; Sweden makes concessions to them every other day of the year.
I, in a thrilling display of activity on my day off, sat my ass inside all day and read and watched Friday Night Lights. You know, to celebrate being a Swedish national.