Ascension Day

Ascension DayAscension Day

Ascension Day is a very significant day in Christianity. It is also a public holiday in a large number of countries, but how it is actually celebrated differs in several respects. In Sweden, it has a long history that in many ways also connects with pre-Christian times.

Here is some information about the day of Christ's ascension and what characterizes it in our modern times.

Christian and at the same time pre-Christian

Ascension Day is a Christian holiday that aims to mark the day when Jesus left earthly life for heaven. It always takes place on the 40th day after Easter. As this is always a Thursday, the day has sometimes been referred to as Holy Thursday.

How it is celebrated varies greatly depending on the extent to which a country has become secularized. The more traditional celebration of the ascension of Christ includes a service and a visit to the cemetery where loved ones are.

What gives it a special position in Sweden in particular is that Ascension Day also coincides with the day when farmers release the cows on pasture. Therefore, the day is historically also known as the day of grazing release / cow release. This means that culturally it also has an anchorage in the peasant society whose history is in many ways older than the history of Christianity in Sweden.

Holiday that few actually celebrate

In many cases, Ascension Day coincides with Sweden's National Day in such a way that together they form a particularly long weekend. Therefore, Ascension Day sometimes becomes part of Sweden's longest weekend period.

Despite its status as a public holiday, it is relatively unusual in Sweden to celebrate Ascension Day. It is still mainly the Christians and believers who to some extent pay attention to the day. But the celebration has increased, and many predict that it will soon be a bigger phenomenon than it has been before.

May 1

First of May - 1st of MayMay 1

Since the end of the 19th century, May Day has been one of the most important recurring festivals and events of the labor movement. Its history is closely linked to the rise of socialism in Europe and has had a very strong hold, not least in Sweden.

But what is the first of May really about?

The growth of the labor movement

Despite the fact that the USA is now mainly associated with the free market, it is actually from there that the first of May originates. Although the idea of organizing works has a much longer history, most believe that its model is a decision made in 1884 in the United States. The American Labor Movement Federation of Labor (AFL) decided to demand a broad limitation of the working day to eight hours.

The Second International was an organization formed in Paris to mark a kind of symbolic extension of the French Revolution, while striking a blow for the rights of future workers. Their formation in 1889 is also usually seen as a kind of beginning of the first corn position as an official holiday.

The labor movement has since been a decentralized social movement with a focus on improving workers' rights. The concept is broad and encompasses both organized trade unions and the ambitions and expressions of individuals. The labor movement has been active in many countries throughout history, but it has been most successful in Western industrialized countries. The labor movement is often associated with socialist and communist political parties and organizations, but it is not necessarily tied to any particular ideology.

The first May train

A special symbol for the first of May is the first May train that takes place every year in several countries. Not least in Sweden, it has had a very strong position. The song Internationalen is in many places the train's more or less official theme song. Although the train is common, they continue to have a controversial position in many parts of the world where the labor movement is not yet accepted.

Sweden's National Day

Sweden's National DaySweden's National Day

Despite its very special position, Sweden's national day has not actually been a holiday for very long. But at the same time, it has its ancestry that stretches back several hundred years in time. How it is celebrated, on the other hand, varies greatly between different places in Sweden, and in a way its existence is still controversial.

We have taken a deep dive in Sweden's national day.

Old Sweden but modern tradition

Internationally, Sweden is one of the countries that has been united the longest. It is actually one of the oldest kingdoms in the world. But despite this, Sweden's national day is a fairly new phenomenon. It was not until the end of the 19th century that it was decided to celebrate Sweden as a united kingdom.

Today's history is interestingly closely linked to Skansen. The idea with Skansen has always been to represent a kind of living miniature of Sweden, which means that from the very beginning there was an idea to focus on Sweden as a nation state.

When it was decided in 1893 to celebrate Sweden, it was decided to give feedback to June 6, 1523 when Gusta Vasa became king and also a symbol of a united Sweden.

A fairly new holiday

Although the celebration of Sweden's national day now extends more than a hundred years back in time, it was not until 2005 that it became a public holiday. It makes the day an exciting and both new and old phenomenon.

The celebration varies greatly between different places in Sweden. But as flag day, it is a given to hoist the Swedish flag. Unlike other holidays, there is really no real template for how the national day should be celebrated. Skansen in particular continues to be a common denominator and this is also where a large part of the celebration actually takes place. Whether the day will gain greater broad popular support, however, remains unclear.

Easter Day and Pentecost

Easter Day and PentecostEaster Day and Pentecost

Easter and Pentecost have almost ancient origins and are constantly recurring in very many Swedish households. What is unique about the Swedish celebration, on the other hand, is that it unites Christian traditions with indigenous elements that stretch back to Old Norse culture. Therefore, the holidays in their Swedish vintages have many things that have no equivalent in the rest of the world.

But what are they really about? And how come we celebrate them?

Easter Day

Easter is an annual Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. That is why it is also called the Day of Resurrection. It always occurs on the first Sunday after the first so-called ecclesiastical full moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, it takes place on different days every year.

How then is Easter celebrated?

  • Eat special foods such as lamb, which stems from both the idea of sacrificial lamb and the pre-Christian blot. Relatives and friends are often invited.
  • Special decorations and sweets with a special focus on eggs, which according to some is rooted in the idea of rebirth. Many people choose to focus on egg hunting and surprises

In Swedish and modern fashion, the celebration is in many ways partly secularized. Therefore, the celebration varies greatly.


Pentecost is a Christian holiday when it is celebrated that the Holy Spirit appeared for what became Jesus' apostles. That is why the day is sometimes called the birthday of the modern church. When the day takes place varies between 10 May and 26 June, depending on both year and church attendance.

The celebration of Pentecost, unlike the celebration of Easter, has not gained much traction among those who do not participate in the Church's activities. Celebrating Pentecost is therefore still closely associated with Pentecost and church activities. Unlike Easter Day, many believe that Pentecost should be more spartan in its execution with a focus on paying attention to and taking advantage of what we have around us.

New Year's Day and Thirteenth Day of Christmas

New Year's Day and Thirteenth Day of Christmas

New Year's Day and Thirteenth Day of Christmas

That four New Year's Day and the thirteenth day is a matter of course for very many people. But its cultural and historical origins are not always completely obvious. Although they have origins that do not necessarily have to do with each other, they form a basic framework in how we both end and meet the new year.

We have taken a closer look at the thirteenth day of Christmas and New Year's Day.


The thirteenth day of Christmas got its name because it takes place on the thirteenth day after Christmas. Thus, it usually occurs on January 6th. In addition to being one of the church's most important festivals, it is also a holiday in many countries. The day intends to celebrate the day when it was revealed that Jesus was the Son of God.

How is the thirteenth day of Christmas celebrated?

  • In Sweden, the day often goes unnoticed. But many other countries have a position that corresponds to our Christmas Eve, with gifts and socializing.

  • Many in Sweden have recently chosen to celebrate the day with good food.

Although the thirteenth day often takes place without special celebration, it is an important Christian holiday that is part of our common cultural heritage.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day is the day to mark the definitive start of a new year. It takes place on January 1 and is thus the first calendar day of the year. It is a holiday in most countries around the world and has paradoxically been given the status of being the day to clean up the mess from the New Year celebrations.

What is unique about New Year's Day is that it is a result of pre-Christian traditions combined with Roman and Christian elements. Therefore, it is a holiday that in a way has no really concrete common thread. But despite this, it continues to be a holiday that consists of both cleaning and a rapture that a new year has begun.

Christmas Day and Christmas Eve

Christmas Day and Christmas EveChristmas Day and Christmas Eve

Monday and Christmas Day are two very established holidays in the common Western culture. Its history is closely linked to the growth of the church but is celebrated by a very large number of people without any closer ecclesiastical connection. For many in Sweden, these days are mainly characterized by a kind of calm after the storm, where you spend time enjoying the peace after Christmas and focusing on the present.

But what are these days about? We have taken a closer look at Christmas Day and the second day of Christmas.

Christmas day

Christmas Day is originally a Christian holiday that intends to celebrate the birth of Jesus and therefore takes place on December 25 every year. In modern times, however, Christmas Day has become a symbol of the common Christmas celebration which is characterized by fir trees, candles, ornaments and general decorations.

The traditional celebration is characterized by church mass in the evening that extends beyond midnight and marks the transition of Christmas night. That is why it is also called the Christmas night fair. For many people, Christmas Day is mainly characterized by being the day after Christmas Eve and therefore marks rather a slow end to the Christmas celebration, rather than a particularly significant holiday. This also coincides with Nordic tradition where the day before Christmas was considered the most important.

Second day of Christmas

Christmas Day is the day that occurs after Christmas Day. It is often also called the second day. It occurs the day after Christmas, and is thus the second day after Jesus' birth. In many parts of the world it is a holiday, but how it is celebrated varies greatly. In Sweden, it has typically meant a rather low-key celebration that is mainly about enjoying the peace after an often hectic Christmas.

In many countries where English is spoken, the second day is called Boxing day. Boxing day is a public holiday in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, among others. In the US, it's an unofficial full day. Just as with the second day falls on December 26th.


Midsummer Day

Midsummer DayMidsummer Day

Although midsummer is for many people reminiscent of a specific Swedish celebration, Midsummer Day is a unique holiday that takes place in a large number of different places in the world. This is because its history is twofold linked to both pre-Christian times and the spread of Christianity across Europe.

Here we take a closer look at Midsummer Day.

Folk and church holiday

In a Swedish respect for Midsummer Day, definitely the thoughts of the Midsummer celebration. This very typical celebration that takes place between 20 and 26 June has a long and unclear history. While some believe that it is a pre-Christian phenomenon that is linked to the celebration of the summer solstice, some believe that its spread is closely linked to Christianity and St. John the Baptist's Day.

Regardless of where you place the day in a historical stage, it is a given that it is a common holiday that is celebrated in many different places in the world. In Sweden, it has traditionally been celebrated with midsummer dance and classic midsummer food.

Elsewhere in the world, where the position of the church is more widespread even in modern times, the celebration has a considerably much more ecclesiastical appearance. This has led many to see Midsummer Day as a kind of rock between pre-Christian traditions and Christian customs. But as it is unclear how obvious the historical anchoring really is, no one has come to draw any definite conclusions.

What is clear, however, is that the day continues to be celebrated in many places around the world and that it remains extremely popular. Something that is particularly interesting is that all countries seem to have a tendency to associate Midsummer Day with their own celebration, even though it is in fact an international holiday. On the whole, probably one of the most common festivals around the world, which interestingly lacks common elements.

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

All Saints' Day is a very multifaceted holiday whose history is in a way hidden in obscurity. But as a Christian tradition, it has proven to be unusually multifaceted and vibrant. This has made it celebrated in many different ways depending on where you are in the world.

We have looked at All Saints' Day and seen what sets it apart.

A common but misunderstood day

The origin of All Saints' Day is typically considered to be the ecclesiastical ambition to draw the attention of saints and martyrs to their sacrifices. All Saints' Day is a Christian holiday that celebrates the lives of all saints. Exactly when it is celebrated varies between different places in the world, but it typically takes place on November 1 or sometime between October 31 and November 6.

But what exactly is a saint? A saint is a person who has been recognized by the Church as having attained a very high level of holiness and virtue.

Over time, however, All Saints' Day has become more of a general attention of the people who have left earthly life. Whether it's about saints or our own loved ones. Therefore, the contemporary celebration of All Saints' Day is very closely linked to cemetery visits. Lighting candles and visiting graves is considerably more common than actually spending time in church.

In many places, the day is probably more associated with Halloween, even though they are not really connected other than that they occur one after the other. This is typically considered to be the result of a linguistic interconnection.

All Saints' Day continues to be a popular holiday, but is celebrated in many different ways. In our own time, it has probably in many ways faced great competition from Halloween, even though these two phenomena have completely different origins.

Good Friday and Easter Monday

Good Friday and Easter MondayGood Friday and Easter Monday

In Christian tradition, Good Friday and the second day of Easter are two very important festivals that are both essential in the attention of Jesus. But even in the secularized world, these days in many places have the status of an official full day.

Despite the fact that they are holidays, the celebrations in many countries have more or less not taken place. What is unique is that the weekends in some places are barely noticed, while in other places they involve very large events.

Here is a little more information about what Easter Monday and Good Friday are really about.

Good Friday

Good Friday is basically a Christian holiday that takes place in memory of Jesus' crucifixion. It takes place on the Friday before Easter, and has as its original idea to focus on the suffering that Jesus went through in connection with the crucifixion. In Sweden, it took until the 17th century before it became a holiday.

Good Friday's date varies greatly from year to year, and that is why it is said to occur on the very Friday before Easter. In many countries, Good Friday is celebrated with a symbolic crucifixion. In connection with this, there is also a longer period of fasting.

For Sweden, on the whole, Good Friday has been a low-key holiday that is not really celebrated beyond church circles. Internationally, however, it has been considerably more tangible.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is also a public holiday in many countries. It is celebrated on the first Monday after Easter. In the USA, on the other hand, Easter Day has a special position as it is not a state-wide holiday. Therefore, the celebration differs greatly in different places.

The second day of Easter is originally a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, the celebration has a historical anchorage in the service. It would probably not be too unfair to say that the second day of Easter is mainly noticed by the people who regularly visit the church.