We went to an Independence day party yesterday (photo). Independence festivities in Mexico are primarily about getting drunk, just as they are everywhere else. But at about 11, which was when Miguel Hidalgo famously rang the church bell in Dolores and started the uprising that became Mexico's independence, everyone at the party gathered as one of the attendees recreated the Independence Day speech after which everyone sang the national anthem. Displays of patriotism completely unthinkable for us Swedes and unthinkable to most westerners.
I miss that about my country. When playing the national anthem our primary concern is who might feel uncomfortable by it. Past Swedish achievements are explained away as luck and favorable circumstances rather than excellence. Conquests are waved off as immoral acts of aggression or imperialism. The symbols of the proudest of our ancestors the vikings will get you labeled a racist in no time (the head honcho doesn't give shit though, he carries his Mjölnir around his neck every day. Call him all the racist you want.)
At the same time, us Swedes are very eager to display our moral superiority through gay tolerance, gender equality and other jibberish when interacting with strangers. That's all the national pride we can muster and I've always found that distasteful about us. Better then to rejoice on how we had the whole of England living in fear of the ravaging berserker, the military prowess of Carl XII and the commercial and technological achievement of Swedish 19th and 20th century industrialists.
In the mean time, Mexicans will keep celebrating their 16th of September with unapologetic grandeur. There is no reason why they shouldn't. So to all my Mexican friends and family: happy independence day!