The Swedish Embassy in Dhaka on December 13 held a traditional Lucia Reception celebrating 50 years of bilateral relations between Sweden and Bangladesh.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, graced the event as Chief Guest.
H.E. Ambassador Alexandra Berg von Linde said that celebrating 50 years of bilateral relations has been a milestone, also mentioning that Sweden was one of the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign state.
“50 years is an excellent opportunity to reflect. On what has been – and what is to come. During these past decades, Sweden is proud to have both witnessed the impressive development journey of Bangladesh, and to some extent also contributed to it. Our partnership is in transition. At the outset, our relations focused on humanitarian support. This later shifted into development cooperation, that has had long-term impacts in many areas. Today, we are glad to also see an increased focus on expanding our trade and commercial relations, with a focus on sustainability, where Sweden and Swedish companies have a lot to offer. As our countries have evolved, so has our partnership – and it continues to grow,” said the Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh.
At the event at Bay’s Gallery, the Embassy of Sweden also showcased an Exhibition called “50 years through 50 voices” that included a range of stories that captures the broad, deep and rich history of the two countries.
“In this exhibition, you will read stories that are interesting, exciting, moving and sometimes dramatic and personal. All of which have contributed to advancing our relations. This is by no means our entire common story - these voices are joined by so many more. Because we look forward to continuing to strengthen our relations for many years to come”, said H.E. Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh.
The reception also included a cultural program, since the 13th of December is the day Sweden celebrates Lucia Day, one of the most famous and loved Swedish traditions. Santa Lucia is commonly seen as the “bearer of light and hope” in the dark and cold Swedish winters. The tradition has it that Lucia leads a procession wearing a white, full-length gown and candles in her hair, followed by her handmaidens, also carrying candles and men and boys carrying stars. Everything while singing classical Christmas-songs.
“For many of us I dare say, Lucia comes with a message of peace and of hope. A message that light shall prevail and that after dark nights comes bearings of lighter times. Which, in the world of today, is certainly reason enough to celebrate,” said the Swedish Ambassador before welcoming a traditional Swedish Lucia procession on the stage.