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Finnish Swedish Heritage Day - Embassy of Finland, Athens : Current Affairs

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News, 11/6/2017

Finnish Swedish Heritage Day

Finnish Swedish Heritage Day (Swedish: Svenska dagen, Finnish: Ruotsalaisuuden päivä) is a general flag day, which is celebrated in Finland on November 6. The day celebrates the Finland-Swedish culture, and the bilinguality of Finland.

The Finnish Swedish Heritage Day is celebrated on the same day as Gustav Adolfsdagen in Sweden, the day that king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden died. He was killed at the Battle of Lützen in 1632.

History

SnellmaninkatuThe status of Swedish as the joint official language of mainland Finland can be seen in the bilingual names of public institutions and in street signs, the latter case depending on the percentage of minority language speakers resident in a given municipality, and in the Swedish-language programmes on radio and TV. Swedish-speaking Finns have a distinctive culture, and their social mores are influenced by Scandinavian traditions moreso than amongst the Finnish-speaking majority.

The Finland Swedish Heritage Day was created in 1908, when the newly founded Swedish People's Party of Finland decided to celebrate a day for the Swedes. The intention was to strengthen the Swedish-speaking Finnish community.

The reason why the day of the death of king Gustavus Adolphus was chosen was because this also was the time when the empire of Sweden was founded.In the beginning, the celebrations largely circled around the king's persona.

During the language strife of the 1930s the celebrations were overshadowed by street fights between Finnish and Swedish groups. Finnish-speaking students saw this day as a day for celebrating "aggressive imperialism". During the Second World War, both sides stopped fighting each other and emphasized that both language groups were part of Finland, thus the celebration of the day spread outside the political spectrum. Today, the day is led by Swedish Assembly of Finland.

More history

Fundamental Linguistic Rights

The administration of Finland is bilingual by law. All Acts are made and published in both Finnish and Swedish, and all regulations and decrees are also issued in both languages, meaning that both language versions are equal. Linguistic rights are guaranteed in the Constitution, according to which the national languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish.

As such, public authorities are required to provide for the cultural and societal needs of Finnish- and Swedish-speaking populations on an equal basis. This means that the languages are formally equal, but it also assumes that the real equality between Finnish- and Swedish-speaking populations is secured. The regulation is of particular significance when it comes to the provision of important social services, education, information or healthcare in Finnish and Swedish.

On ThisIsFinland web-pages you can read How to be Finnish in Swedish

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Updated 11/6/2017


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