Swedish holidays you don’t want to miss

Each country has its own special celebrations, when you should visit the country if you want a good party or enjoy the most that the country has to offer, for example “King’s Day” in the Netherlands, “Syttende mai” in Norway and “Halloween” in the United States. Of course this also applies to Sweden and we Swedes have several days of celebration, but depending on the age and interest the very favourite out of these days may differ slightly. As a native Swede, I would like to give you some insider tips on which holidays that are ones you don’t want to miss.

Midsummer

When I am asked about the best time to visit Sweden, I always answer “the end of June so that you are able to join the Midsummer celebrations”. Midsummer Eve is a day celebrated together with friends and family, and often at a cottage or summer house on the countryside or by the sea. During the day traditional Swedish food with meatballs, potatoes and herring is eaten, along with drinking beer and “nubbe” – a Swedish shot which is taken along with songs and laughter. After the “nubbe” you dance and play around the Maypole all night long. Check the video below for more detail on how to celebrate.

The Fat Tuesday (Fettisdagen)

To be honest, this day might not include the most exciting celebrations, but it is the day when you can eat as much as possible of the popular pastry “Semla”. Because I have never found this delicious pastry abroad, I would consider this a valid reason to visit Sweden. What date the “Fat Tuesday” occurs on differs from year to year, but it usually falls the earliest on February 3rd and no later than the 9th of March. This year it will be on February 9th. During this day, you are excused and allowed to eat as many “Semlor” you can possibly eat, and even in the weeks before the actual day, most bakeries start selling these pastries for the customers who cannot wait until the day itself. So what is then a Semla? As you can see in the picture below it is a wheat bun with cardamom which is split in two and in the middle contains almond paste and cream, and it is delicious but very filling!

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Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night is celebrated on 30 April although how it is celebrated depends on your age and interests. Families and slightly older people usually go to a big bonfire, where the idea is to “burn away the old and make way for the new.”

However students and other young celebrators tend celebrate slightly different. While the celebrations occur all over Sweden, from the smallest village to Stockholm, it is in Lund and Uppsala largest celebrations occur and during the day students tend to drink a lot of alcohol and party all day and night. For the most hardcore celebrators, celebrations usually begin two days before Walpurgis Night, on April 28 and what is called “Skvalborg”, and is followed by April 29th which is called “Kvalborg”. The Walpurgis Night itself is called “Valborg” and it involves a tight schedule with everything from champagne breakfast to concerts and parties. The day after Walpurgis Night is called “Finalborg” and although most people are done partying after three full days, some tough students keep going throughout the whole of “Finalborg” as well.

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Crayfish party

This is a celebration that has no exact date, but it takes place sometime in August or September. As the name suggests, it revolves around the celebration crayfish. During this event people sit outside and eat crayfish and drink alcoholic beverages the whole evening and it is cosy with lanterns and candles. While drinking special songs are sung and the decoration is associated with crayfish hats, along with aprons and napkins with crayfish motives. The crayfish party usually marks the end of summer and is often one of the last evenings when it is possible to sit outside and enjoy the summer night.

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