A group of Swedish diplomats moved the celebration of their national holiday forward an entire month to stop the date clashing with Ramadan.
Officials at the Swedish consulate in Jerusalem had a party for the National Day of Sweden on May 6th. The actual date of the celebration is June 6th.
A recent social media post shared photos of the event, which took place at a hotel in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian territories:
When asked why the event had been held weeks before the proper date, the consulate responded: “Yes – the national day is on 6 June – we’re looking forward to it! But celebrations coincided with Ramadan, so we chose to bring them forward this year.”
A spokesman for the Swedish government told Heat Street that such practices are not unusual.
Sweden is known for being one of the least patriotic nations in the world.
Its national day – which only became a public holiday in 2005 – is one of the few occasions when it is deemed acceptable to be overly proud to be Swedish.
The Swedish government’s own website describes the day like this:
Swedes celebrate their National Day on 6 June in honour of two historical events. On 6 June 1523, Gustav Vasa was elected king, and on the same date in 1809, the country adopted a new constitution. Not known for displaying their national pride, this day offers a rare chance to see Swedes waving the flag
Diplomatic missions to the Middle East have been accused of being too accommodating before.
Earlier this year, Heat Street reported how female ministers promoting Sweden’s self-proclaimed “feminist foreign policy” were under fire for bowing to demands from Iran to wear the veil.
Campaigners against Iran’s compulsory hijab laws – who are often attacked in the street for their opposition – said they felt abandoned when a Swedish delegation did nothing to challenge Iran’s modesty laws while they pursued economic ties.
A spokesman said: “It is not uncommon to move different celebrations and adjust dates to local conditions. This goes for embassies and consulates from many countries… The important thing is not the exact date but that the people you invite can come.
“For example: the US embassy in Stockholm celebrated the Independence day on 2 June instead of 4 July last year because the Swedes are on vacation in July.
“Sometimes the embassies of Sweden, Norway and Denmark celebrate the national days together and then a date is chosen to fit all three countries – and the guests.”