A ceremonial greeting

Since the 17th century, firing a salute has been a military mark of honour. A twenty-one gun salute is fired on days such as The King's birthday and Sweden's National Day.

The word 'salute' comes from the Latin salus, meaning health or welfare, and is a form of greeting. Initially, a salute was a way of demonstrating peaceful intentions. When a naval ship approached a foreign port, it would empty the charges from its canons. This eventually became a mark of honour, or a salute.

A salute could also be a way of showing one's country of origin. Since 1635, two shots in quick succession have been known as 'the Swedish password'. In times of war, this was used as a signal of recognition both on land and at sea. On ceremonial occasions, a royal salute was fired with a double Swedish password, in other words four shots, which led to the Swedish use of four cheers.

Over time, the salute evolved into the Swedish Armed Forces' commemoration of the monarch's and the heir to the throne's birthdays and name days, and a welcome greeting for foreign heads of state and royalty when visiting Sweden. Salutes are also fired on special occasions such as royal birthdays, the death of the head of state and enthronements.

The Swedish Armed Forces has several salute stations across the country in current use, including Kungshall in Karlskrona, Kusthöjden in Härnösand and Skansen Lejonet in Gothenburg. Stockholm has two batteries: one on Skeppsholmen and one on Kastellholmen.

In Boden, salutes are fired from a mobile saluting battery at Kvarnängen. Salutes can also be fired from naval vessels.

According to international practice, a salute consists of 21 shots.

Film: Sweden's National Day 2019. Soldiers from the Amphibious Regiment fire a 21-shot salute from the Skeppsholmen saluting battery in Stockholm. Photo: Kaffegruppen/The Royal Court of Sweden

OFFICIAL SALUTE DAYS IN SWEDEN

The King's name day, 28 January
The King's birthday, 30 April
Sweden's National Day, 6 June
The Crown Princess's birthday, 14 July
The Queen's name day, 8 August
The Queen's birthday, 23 December

Salutes are fired at 12:00

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