Swedish Valentine – All Hearts’ Day’

Like many places around the world, Swedes celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Called ‘Alla Hjärtans Dag’ – All Hearts’ Day – it is a newish tradition that started around 50 years ago, but didn’t really gain traction until the 1990’s. American influence and commercialization are often cited as the reasons for this. I also think that it’s a timing issue – the month of February is an otherwise boring time of year in Sweden. A little celebration is a small distraction from the tedium.

In Sweden, Valentine’s wishes are not only limited to love interests, but also extended to children, friends and even school teachers.

Romantically, the most common Valentine’s gifts are flowers, and treating your loved one to a nice dinner, in a restaurant or at home. Approximately 10 million red roses are sold around this day, which is huge considering the population is also 10 million.

Heart-shaped candy is also popular, and in Sweden the most common is ‘jelly hearts’. Sales of chocolate and candy apparently increase by 90% every year around Valentine’s Day.

So, I might not have flowers or chocolates to give you, but I’d like to wish each of you a Happy Valentine’s Day. I appreciate that you want to read my writing, and in return I send you some loving energy. I hope you have love and affection in your life and that, when the day comes, you can celebrate with a long, warm hug!

Have a Gay National Day!

Tomorrow 6 June is Sweden’s National Day and there are many celebrations going on around the country to celebrate the nation. This is the day Swede’s gather to celebrate their Sweden, and they do it in a variety of ways. With the rise of extreme right wing parties in the EU and in Sweden, a National Day might seem dubious to some people. However, If you want to avoid the ‘traditional’ celebrations, one suggestion is that you make your way to Boulevard Teater on Götgatan on Södermalm in Stockholm. There, at 7pm, National Day is being celebrated with a twist. A very gay one.Stockholm’s Gay Choir are holding the first of three concerts. The second two concerts are at 3pm and 7pm on Saturday 7 June.

All of the songs have Swedish roots and reflect how the choir sees Sweden, what it means to the HBTQ community and why they love their country. The songs are a mixture of passion, glamour, tragedy, vulnerability and joy. In an environment of increasing intolerance, these songs are needed and Stockholm’s Gay Choir stand up for openness, love and acceptance. Tickets can be bought at www.stockholmsgaykor.se or on www.ticnet.se or the box office at the theatre.

So if you want a different kind of celebration, a modern and diverse perspective – have a Gay National Day!

See you there! 🙂

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