Today, 6 November, is Svenska dagen or ‘Swedish day’, an official flag-day in Finland. The day is to celebrate Finland’s Swedish-speaking culture. Last year was its 100th anniversary.
This year the main Swedish Day celebration is in Jakobstad, but events are occurring around the country in the form of parties which usually feature Swedish language music artists, theatre performances etc. In recent years, a whole Swedish Week has been organised in some cities with an aim of reaching out also to Finnish speakers who are interested in experiencing Swedish language cultural events or just in brushing up their Swedish language skills.
On the occasion of Swedish Day, I thought it would be interesting to tell you about the ‘Song of the Mother tongue’, Modersmålets sång. This is sung as Swedish-speaking events such as school graduation ceremonies and is a kind of unofficial anthem for Swedish-speaking Finns. It was performed for the first time in 1898 and has lyrics that praise the beauty of the ‘mother tongue’ (i.e. the Swedish language) and how it is our greatest inheritance and treasure. The chorus demands that it be heard loudly and freely from shore to shore in the land of the thousand lakes. You can hear it sung by a choir from Åboland via this link (broken link) on the servers of Åbo Akademi University.
UPDATE 6.11. 2010. The audio link on Åbo akademi’s website is no longer available. You can however listen to Modersmålets sång on the archive page’s of Yle, Finland’s national broadcaster via this link.