• Tove M Taalesen

Top five Swedish traditions you'd love!

1. "Fika"

Swedes prefer not to translate the word "fika". They don’t want it to lose significance and become a mere coffee break. It is one of the first words you will learn when visiting Sweden, right after "tack" (thank you) and "hej" (hello). Fika is much more than having a coffee. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Fika can happen at any time, morning as well as evening. It can be savoured at home, at work or in a café. It can be with colleagues, family, friends, or someone you are trying to get to know. It is a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day.

2. Midsummer's Eve

Midsummer is a popular celebration. Midsummer's Eve is always celebrated on the Friday between 19. and 25. June. People usually dance around a Midsummer pole on Midsummer's Eve. This is a pole that is covered in leaves and floral wreaths. Many adults and children also wear floral wreaths on their heads. At Midsummer, it is common to eat herring, salmon, new potatoes and strawberries. Swedish people all over the world are celebrating this joyful evening. Take a look at the Swedish embassy close to you if you want to explore this tradition.

3. Crayfish Party

Its common to have a crayfish party at the end of August in Sweden. Crayfish are to be eaten outdoors, and gaily coloured paper lanterns should be hung round the table. Both the tablecloth and the colourful plates are also supposed to be of paper. People wear bibs round their necks and comic paper hats on their heads. They often drink a glass or more of spirits with their meal, called "snaps". After eating crayfish and enjoying a couple of "snaps" they often sing homemade songs. The day after a party like this is usually a tough hangover day if you're not careful with the liquor.

4. The Swedish summer house, a love affair

In June, tens of thousands of Swedes abandon towns and cities and head to their summer houses for rest and relaxation. The appeal seems completely ageless. So what is it about the Swedish cottage that generation after generation still finds irresistible?

The simple life, back to basic with outdoor living and childhood memories, like no hot water and electricity. Times are changing and their summer houses are desirable properties because of increasing property prices.

5 . December 13.

Saint Lucy's Day is on December13. In Sweden Saint Lucy's Day is celebrated in order to bring back the light following winter. The winter in the nordic countries are dark and cold and the people need to brighten the days with celebrations, Children in preschools and schools wear white clothes and sing special songs about Saint Lucy and Christmas. Every family make their own "lussekatter" a bun with saffron.

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