Thursday, 6 November 2014

Happy Gustavus Adolphus Day !

Today, is a very special day, for it is Gustavus Adolphus Day. The commemoration for arguably one of the greatest generals in history. And for this reason, I have decided to do a short (informal) post to celebrate the great King of Sweden (and yes he is one of my heroes, despite that I am English). The day, on the 6th November, is also on the date when he died at the Battle of L├╝tzen in 1632 during the Thirty Years War. Often called 'the Lion of the North' he transformed Sweden into one of the greatest powers in Europe. Not only did he aid the Protestant cause in the Thirty Year's War, he also lead successful wars against enemies such as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia (Obviously, you can debate his motives, which like anybodies are never fully clear). He has been quoted as the 'Father of modern warfare', as was admired and studied by commanders such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Carl von Clausewitz. Yet, he also increased the efficiency of the administrative system in Sweden and also encouraged education, including in conquered territories, such as Estonia.

 Gustavus Adolphus Day is celebrated on the 6th November, despite him dying on the 16th November, according to the Gregorian Calendar, this is because the Julian calender was still in use in Sweden when he died. The day has been celebrated since the early 19th Century and became especially popular in 1832, the 200th anniversary of his death. Today, it is still popular in Gothenburg, which he founded, while it also still celebrated in Estonia and Finland. In Sweden and Finland it is an official Flag Day. Despite, being celebrated in the past with torchlight processions and patriotic speeches, mainly today it is celebrated with the Gustavus Adolphus Pastry.

Although, the recipes vary locally, they nearly always have a chocolate or marzipan portrait of the King on. Candy with the image of the King on was sold in the 1850s in a Konditorei, with the earliest mention of the pastry in western Sweden in the 1890s. The pastry may have been created around the festivities of when a statue of Gustavus was erected in Gothenburg, at this time, in the square now known as Gustav Adolfs Torg (Gustavus Adolphus Square). One bakery in Gothenburg claims to have created in the early 20th century, with the years 1905 or 1909 being mentioned. Now for a final celebration, lets role on the pictures of some pastries (all credit to those who made them and/ or who took the photos.)

Yummy !

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