Våffeldagen, and the reasons I love Sweden this month

As I’ve written before, I am in the thesis-writing phase of my masters program and therefore consuming copious amounts of coffee and extra appreciative of Sweden’s pro-coffee and Stockholm’s high density of coffee shops. That started a mental list of reasons I love Sweden. Here are some other things that make me realize I have a slight adoration for this country and city I’m currently calling home.

Reasons I love Sweden this month:

1) Misunderstood holidays: Besides the Swedish LOVE for sweet foods, I also love their insistence that there should be special days and holidays dedicated to these sweet treats they consume on the daily. We have had Kannelbulle day (cinnamon bun day), Fettisdagen (semlor day), and now Våffeldagen (waffle day, March 25th), which has a funny little story behind it. Våffeldagen comes from the Christian celebration, Vårfrudagen, which translates to “spring wife day” and is exactly 9 months before the birth of Jesus, aka the day Mary must have miraculously conceived. This day is still celebrated on the weekend closest to this date but over time saying Vårfrudagen quickly has sounded like Våffeldagen and the Swedes, not a likely bunch to turn down a reason to eat something sweet, have adapted to this new tradition whole-heartedly. Here’s to miscommunication resulting in a reason to eat waffles! (You can google translate this page as proof! http://varfrudagen.blogspot.se/2012/03/vafflans-historia.html)

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2) Semlor: Officially the food of Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) in February, these wonderful little bundles of sugar were seen well before the celebrated holiday and continue to make bakery and coffee shop shelves look fantastic. I cannot stress enough how delicious and decadent and how perfectly semlor go with coffee when spring is poking its little head out once in a while.

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3) The bright morning sun: Speaking of sun and spring, they are both definitely trying their hardest to make an appearance. Although early days, the brightness streaming into my room at 7 am is slightly alarming but mostly a more welcome start to the day than my blaring alarm clock. It’s not that I am getting out of bed any easier, but my the amount of times I’m able to hit the snooze button are becoming less and less as it feels like there is a questioning lamp shining on my tired face (but a run in the mild weather clears up any hard feelings I have towards this growing bright trend).

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4) Productive Swedes in the spring: Along the same lines as the increased amount of daylight and the fact that most businesses shut down in the summer so that everyone can fully enjoy the joys of summer, I have found that everyone here in Stockholm is on hyperdrive in productivity. Something like the 7 little dwarves going off to work singing happily comes to mind…
5) The promise of new things: The thesis deadline looms nearer and there is talk of graduation. Although nothing in my life is planned or known “post-graduation”, I know that there will be wonderful things ahead for our class after this year has zipped by!

xx Caity, Global Health

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