Public holidays in Sweden

Public holidays in Sweden

All official holidays ( _sv. helgdagar) in Sweden are established by acts of Parliament.cite web|title=Lag (1989:253) om allmänna helgdagar|publisher=Parliament of Sweden|url=|accessdate=2007-08-01] The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. The main Christian holidays are "Jul" (Christmas), "Trettondedag jul" (Epiphany), "Påsk" (Easter), "Kristi himmelsfärds dag" (Ascension Day), "Pingstdagen" (Pentecost) and "Alla helgons dag" (All Saints). The non-Christian holidays are: "Nyårsdagen" (New Year's Day), "Första maj" (International Workers' Day), "Sveriges nationaldag" (National Day) and "Midsommar" (Midsummer).

In addition to this, all Sundays are official holidays but they are not as important as the "main" holidays. The names of the Sundays follow the liturgical calendar and they should be categorized as Christian holidays. When the standard working week in Sweden was reduced to 40 hours by the Parliament (the "Riksdag"), all Saturdays became "de facto" public holidays. Easter Sunday and Pentecost are Sundays that form part of a "main" holiday and they are preceded by a kind of "special" Saturdays.

Holy Saturday, Midsummer's Eve, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve equal to public holiday in law.

Rather unique for Sweden is the celebration of "Lucia" (Saint Lucia Day). She is the only saint to be celebrated in Lutheran Sweden (as well as those parts of Norway and Finland, where Swedish influence has historically been prominent). The celebration, which, however, is not a public holiday, always takes place on December 13 and retains many pre-Christian traditions. The same is also true for many holidays in Sweden.

In Sweden, a public holiday is typically referred to as "red day" (röd dag), as it is printed in red in calendars. It quite common for businesses to close at noon the day before certain holidays, and also if a holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, Swedes will commonly take off the 'squeeze day' (klämdag) that falls between the red day and the weekend.


In Swedish tradition many holidays have their main celebrations not on the "Day" but on the "Eve" of the holiday, meaning one day earlier. This is especially significant on Christmas Eve and Midsummer Eve, but also on New Year's Eve, however in this case not really unique. Christmas Eve, Midsummer Eve and New Year's Eve might very well be the single most important holidays during the entire year for Swedes. These days are however not official holidays but half-days, and "de facto" full holidays. Most employers provide for the days as full holidays. Other half-day holidays with a full-day de facto status are: Twelfth Night, Maundy Thursday, Walpurgis Night, the day before Ascension Day and the day before All Saints.

The Swedish calendar also provides for special flag days. Flag days are in some cases official holidays or the birthdays and namedays for the Royal family and "informal" holidays like Gustav Adolph Day or the Nobel Day. A day's status as a flag day has no formal link with an eventual status as an official or as a "de facto" holiday.

The official National holiday of Sweden is celebrated on June 6, a status which it was finally granted in 2005. The Namesdays in Sweden calendar is also denoted: it has a long history, originally a calendar of saints, some names have stuck throughout centuries while others have been modernized. This calendar is only celebrated among some, but does not render a holiday or flag day status -- except the namedays of Swedish Royal Family which are flag days.

Several observances at once

There are instances where official holidays, de facto half days, official flagdays and other observances clash and several celebrations may run concurrently. One such case is the April 30 which is immediately followed by May 1. April 30 is a de facto half day because it is the Walpurgis Eve and the main day for celebrations to the arrival of the spring season. The following day is actually Walpurgis Day; however, in the calendar it is primarily denoted as May Day, or Labor Day. This means that depending on your sympathies you may either celebrate it as May Day or as Walpurgis Day. In addition to this April 30 is also the king's birthday and official flag day. Also May 1 is an official flag day by virtue of May Day "or" Walpurgis day. If either day would fall on a Sunday that day would also in that respect be an official holiday and a Christian holiday, as one of the Sundays following Easter.


See Swedish festivities

List of public holidays in Sweden

Official public holidays

In addition to every Sunday, the public holidays in Sweden as defined by law are:


ee also

* Flag days in Sweden
* Name days in Sweden

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