Local traditions and culture in Sweden

  • Painting.
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Sweden

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    www.sormlandsmuseum.se

    by Dizzyhead Written May 23, 2009

    This web site tells you all about what is going on in Södermanland. This website explain what is going on all over this egion and about historical places, archeological sites and what kind of themes the musuems have for the moment.

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    Kräftskiva: lobsters, songs and snaps

    by PALLINA Updated Jan 28, 2009

    If you have the luck to be guest of a Swedish family in summer as I had, you can miss the Lobsters evening. (Kräftskiva). Small river lobsters are grilled, schnaps are drunk and traditional songs are sung. The amtosphere is great and if you can enjoy the light of the summer, even greater. Better not to drive after that :-)

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    Midsommarafton.

    by Dizzyhead Written Aug 27, 2008

    Well, this is a red day in Sweden and usually everybody is free from work. And people try to leave the cities and go to the countryside or to people´s summer cottages.The friday between19-25 June we celebrate this day. We usually eat fresh small potatoes and sill and drink vodka to that, with songs. if you have kids you usually dance around the Midsommarstången.

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    Driving with mobile

    by PALLINA Updated Jul 25, 2008

    Surely everybody knows that Scandinavian rules for drunk drivers are really very severe and probably are as severe as in your country. But probably you dont know that Sweden is one of the few European countries where to drive while having a mobile phone in hand is not forbidden yet.

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    Julmust

    by marielexoteria Updated Dec 6, 2007

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    Julmust (jul = Christmas, must = must) is a soft drink that we drink during Christmas. Wikipedia defines the must: "Must is made of carbonated water, sugar, hops extract, malt extract, spices, colouring (E150), citric acid, and preservatives. The hops and malt extracts give the must a somewhat beer-like taste, but must is not fermented and contains no alcohol. Must can be aged provided it is stored in a glass bottle."

    This yummy soft drink was created in the early 1900's as an alternative to beer by Robert and Harry Roberts, father and son. The syrup that gives the must its taste is made only in Roberts AB in Örebro.

    In December the consumption of must is so high that all other soft beverages drop in sales, esp. Coca Cola, who from 2004 started advertising their own version of must but they buy the syrup from Roberts AB.

    There are several brands of Julmust in the supermarkets, being Apotekarnes my personal favorite. Must is also sold during Easter with the name of Påskmust.

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    Holidays & celebrations of Sweden

    by sim1 Updated Nov 10, 2007

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    Holidays & celebrations of Sweden


    During the year we celebrate several usual and maybe to you a bit more unsual holidays:

    New Years Eve (31 December) and New Years Day (1st January)
    13 afton (6 January)
    20 Knut (13 January)
    Valborgsmässoafton/Walpurgis Night (30th April)
    1May
    långfredagen/Good Friday (The Friday before Easter)
    Easter (2 days: the Sunday and Monday closest after the full moon after the 21st of March)
    Kristi himmelfärdsdag/Ascension Day (The 6th Thursday after Easter)
    Pingst/Whitsuntide (The 7th Sunday after Easter)
    Nationaldagen/National Day (6th June)
    Midsommar (The Saturday between the 20th and 26th of June)
    Alla Helgons Dag (The Saturday between the 31st of October and 6th November)
    St.Lucia (13th December)
    Christmas Eve (24th December), Christmas day (25th December) and Boxing Day (26th December)

    In the next few tips you'll get a bit more info about the traditions surrounding these holidays.

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    Alla Helgons Dag

    by sim1 Updated Nov 10, 2007

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    Holidays & celebrations of Sweden
    Alla Helgons Dag



    Alla Helgons Dag, or in English All Saints' Day is an official Holiday in Sweden. In the past this day has always been the 1st of November, as it still is in many other countries. The roots of this day are from the Catholic Church with the All Saints Day on November 1, followed by All Souls' Day on November 2.

    In Sweden however this tradition has disappeared as such. Instead we celebrate "Alla Helgons Dag" on the Saturday close to the 1st of November (in practice this is the Saturday somewhere between the 31st of October and 6th of November). This day became an official holiday in the year 1953. Just to make things even more confusing I should mention that we still have the 1st of November in our calendars. But this day is called "Allhelgonadagen" instead, a name which is easily confused with "Alla Helgons Dag".

    So why is this day so special to the Swedes? "Alla Helgons Dag" is a day to remember the lost ones. This is the day that a lot of Swedes visit the graveyards of their loved ones and remember the ones that have passed away. They all bring a white candle with them and light it at the grave. The otherwise dark graveyards around the often lovely and historic churches in Sweden turn on this day into a sea of picturesque flickering candle lights. With the days turning short and the autumn slowly turning into winter it is maybe not so surprising that this day is cherished and loved among the Swedes: a touch of light during these dark days, a day to reflect and remember the loved ones. Besides lighting a candle it is also common to bring some flowers and/or a wreath.

    If you are in Sweden on "Alla Helgons Dag" you probably won't notice a lot of difference to any other day. It might however be an idea to visit one of the many churches in Sweden on Alla Helgons Dag and see this touching carpet of candlelight.

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    Flag/Red Days

    by marielexoteria Updated Nov 6, 2007

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    There are certain days in Sweden where you might see little flags on top of the buses or trams. This is because those days are called Flag Days and are:

    * Jan 1: new year's day
    * Jan 28:, the King's name day
    * Mar 12: the Crown Princess' name day
    * Easter Sunday: sometime in March or April
    * Apr 30: the King's birthday (and the Last of April festival day)
    * May 1: May Day
    * Whitsun/Pentecost: 49 days after Easter Sunday
    * Jun 6: Sweden's national day and the Swedish flag's day
    * Midsummerday: the Friday that falls under the period Jun 19-25
    * Jul 14: the Crown Princess' birthday
    * Aug 8: the Queen's name day
    * Election day: the 3rd Sunday in September every election year (every 4 years)
    * Oct 24: the UN day
    * Nov 6: King Gustav Adolf's day
    * Dec 10: Alfred Nobel day and the celebration of the Nobel Prize
    * Dec 23: the Queen's birthday (and my dad's too hehe)
    * Dec 25: Christmas day.

    Another (unofficial) Flag Day we have is May 9, which is an European Union flag day. That day you might see the Swedish and the EU flags on top of the buses and on flag poles in buildings.

    Info from Wikipedia: Flying of the flag is permissible from sunrise to sunset. In general this means from 8 AM to 8 PM. During winter the time from sunrise to sunset is often less than 12 hours in the whole of Sweden and during this time the actual daylight hours should be observed. One example of handling this is the practice of the Infantry Regiment in Kiruna, which during this period flies the flag for one hour each day starting at noon.

    Sweden's red days are: Jan 1, Good Friday, the Monday after Easter Sunday, May Day, Sweden's day, Ascension day (the 6th Thursday after Easter Sunday), Midsummer day, All Saints day (the Saturday that falls under the period Oct 31-Nov 6), Christmas day and Boxing day (the day after Christmas day).

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    Advent Celebrations: Lucia

    by marielexoteria Updated Nov 6, 2007

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    Lucia is celebrated every 13th of December and initiates formally the Christmas celebration. In the ancient Swedish farm society, people used to eat, drink and party all night long and one of the farm ladies had a white gown and carried a crown with lit candles on her head, as they believed the Lucia day had the longest night of the year.

    Modern day celebrations include the "search for Lucia" in all the municipalities of Sweden, being the coronation of Sweden's Lucia in Skansen and the Lucia concert in Globen, Stockholm the biggest ceremonies. The Lucia girls parade in what we call "Luciatåg" (Lucia train). The Lucia train is composed of Lucia followed by Lucia maids (Luciatärnor), star boys (stjärngossar) and children (or young teenagers) dressed with ginger bread guy/girl like (pepparkaksgubbar) and Santa Claus like (tomtar) costumes. Lucia and her maids are dressed with a white gown and a red ribbon on their waist, the maids carry lit candles on their hands and Lucia her candle crown on her head (when it comes to small children they carry battery powered candles for security reasons). The Lucia train will sing some songs, being Sankta Lucia (scroll down) the song the one that announces who's coming to

    There are Lucia trains in schools, hospitals and some other public places. One of my SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) teachers said that this, while not being a red day in the calendar, was an important holiday because Lucia brings light to us living in darkness during winter.

    The Lucia day is where we traditionally drink glögg (hot mulled wine) and eat lussekatter (read my separate tip about it) and ginger bread cookies. Of course, you can find and eat these products all of December.

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    Advent Celebrations: Candlesticks and Calendars

    by marielexoteria Written Nov 5, 2007

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    Advent is the season of preparation before Christmas, here in Sweden of 4 Sundays before Christmas Eve. We start by having an Advent candlestick with decorations and one candle that we light on the first Sunday, 2 on the second, 3 on the third and all 4 on the fourth. By the time the 4th candle is lit, a "stair" is formed from the other 3 candles being burned at different heights.

    During the whole season we like putting out an electrical Advent candlestick, usually with 7 candle shaped small light bulbs to light up our days (and nights), considering how little sun light we get during winter. This, and an Advent star, are used until Jan 6th (trettondedagen in Swedish, 13 days after Christmas Eve).

    For the children, an Advent calendar is sold. It contains 24 "windows" numbered from 1 to 24 that kids open up , one every day, and find a small piece of chocolate. These 24 "windows" represent the days from Dec 1st to Dec 24th, where they get their Christmas presents. Those who are good with craft work make their own calenders and put in small toys or other things (like when Mr. Sweden was a kid). Another form of counting down how long it is until the Christmas Eve dinner is a calendar candle. I'll post pictures of my decorations when I put them on. In the meantime, these pictures are from Wikipedia.

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    Systembolaget: Wine and Spirits Store

    by marielexoteria Updated Sep 26, 2007

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    This is the only place in Sweden where you can buy wine, spirits and beer with a certain (higher) alcohol percentage (you can buy some beer and cider with a low alcohol percentage on supermarkets like Ica and Coop). They monopolize alcohol selling to, and I quote from their site, " minimize alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive." You need to be 20 years old to be able to buy here and you must show your ID card if the cashier asks for it.

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    Knäckebröd

    by marielexoteria Updated Sep 23, 2007

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    The best way I can describe knäckebröd is like a thicker form of a cracker. Knäckebröd is fairly popular as breakfast and/or between meals snack and the variety of toppings you can have on your open face sandwich is almost endless.

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    Crayfish Parties

    by marielexoteria Updated Aug 26, 2007

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    Crayfish parties are, well, parties where Swedes gather round to eat crayfish. They're held in August as a late summer pastime.

    The crayfish are boiled in water with a little salt and seasoned with dill. To this people drink beer and/or snaps.

    I'm afraid I cannot take part in these festivities due to allergy to fish and seafood :(

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    Midsummer Celebrations

    by marielexoteria Updated Aug 17, 2007

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    Midsommar, or midsummer, is one of the most ancients traditions in Sweden. The celebrations are held on "midsommarafton" or the eve of midsummer, which is the Friday under the period of 19th of 25th of June.

    People wear a flower crown made of birch (soft) branches and covered with 7 kinds of flowers. Then people build a maypole, decorated it and dance around it. Traditional dishes that are eaten then are boiled fresh potatoes (the first from the harvest), herring, and strawberries or strawberry cake. To this people drink snaps and sing songs.

    According to tradition, young girls used to collect 7 different kinds of flowers, put them under their pillow and dream of their future husband.

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    Julbord - the Christmas Table

    by marielexoteria Updated Aug 17, 2007

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    Julbord is a smorgasbord with dishes that most treat as traditional during the Christmas holidays. Some of the dishes are herring, gravad lax (salmon cured in salt), lutefisk, the traditional Christmas ham, boiled potatoes, "leverpastej" (similar to foie gras), roasted pork ribs, small sausages, meatballs, red beet sallad and Janssons temptation - sliced potatoes baked with cream, onions and sprats. The traditional dessert is rice porridge with shredded cinnamon on top, in which an almond is hidden and s/he who finds it is supposed to have good luck.

    To these yummy dishes people drink some snaps and sing some local songs, julmust (a carbonated soft drink) or julöl - Christmas beer.

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