If you have a strong connection to Sweden, do listen to this link while you read, it offers a dimension to this "controversy" Den blomstertid nu kommer (Hymn: Now Comes the Time for Flowers, J.O. Wallin, from the Book of Hymns, 1819)

The conclusion of school for summer is something very special in Sweden: An attractive day full of hope, flowers, and singing – many songs are “summer psalms”. It used to be held at a nearby church, but lately that has been criticized. Now Stefan Attefall, a Swedish Christian democratic politician and Minister for Public Administration and Housing, criticizes Skolinspektionen (the School Inspection), over their criticism against having “skolavslutningen” in a church.


“There’s an over sensitivity there, that has no foundation with the Swedish people,” Attefall says. The Skolinspektionen criticized Hässleholm Municipality after they celebrated the “skolavslutning” before Christmas in a church, and for singing songs like “Stilla natt” (“Silent Night”) and “Nu tändas tusen juleljus”. A pastor spoke and read a blessing.

Skolinspektionen says the municipality broke the rule of having education being non-confessional.

“There’s an exaggerated fear of all traditions that are connected to our Christian cultural heritage,” Attefall says. He reacted against the fact that these two Christmas songs were used when making the assessment.

“With their (that is Skolinspektionen’s) interpretation we probably cannot have Lucia-tåg (Lucia and her maidens) in schools either, anymore. There’s a nasty insecurity about the whole thing.” Attefall adds that the Swedish school curriculum allows for students to become educated about religious holidays as well as our most common psalms.

“Their decision is therefore far from what the school and the curriculum states. It is an example of the religious fear that many decision-makers are suffering from in Sweden today,” he says.