Holidays in Sweden vs America

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Emma Norin, Staff Reporter

In my home country, Sweden, Halloween is not celebrated as big as here. Usually, kids go trick or treating, adults go to Halloween parties, and everyone decorates their houses with spooky attributes. Maybe it sounds similar to the American tradition, but let me tell you: it’s not. Americans bring Halloween to a whole new level compared to Sweden. It’s not even comparable to how Swedish people do it. Big spooky decorations with dolls, spider webs, pumpkins, speakers, costumes; you couldn’t even recognize Halloween coming to Sweden as an American to celebrate it. 

One difference between these two countries is that it’s more common to live in a house as Americans. In Sweden, most people live in apartments. This is also a difference that makes Halloween more visible here, since it’s hard to decorate an apartment as much as if you have a backyard. 

Other holidays that are different from America are for example Thanksgiving and Labor Day, which we do not celebrate since that has to do with the American culture. 

In Sweden we have above all two holidays that Americans do not celebrate. They are called “Valborg”, and “Midsommar.” Valborg is celebrated to welcome spring, the last day of may every year. We celebrate it by collecting old furniture, leaves, sticks. Just anything that easily burns to create a big bonfire. We eat snacks, meet up with friends, and listen to music while the bonfire is burning.

Midsommar on the other hand, is celebrated in the beginning of summer on the brightest day of the year. If you thought the other holiday sounded strange, this one is even more different. We dress up in white or bright colors with flower prints, meet up with our family or friends, and eat the typical Swedish food, which is meatballs, sausage, herring, potatoes, salmon, Swedish crackers, and for dessert always something with strawberries. This is what we eat on every Swedish holiday from Christmas, Easter, Midsommar, to New Year’s Eve.  Meatballs and herring are the most popular dishes.

It is also a clarity of self to take  “snaps” which are shots of alcohol, while singing songs dedicated to the holiday. Later you meet up with all the people in your neighborhood to sing more songs about the summer, while you dance around a flower decorated pile. The pile is decorated with flowers forming a cross. On the sides of the cross there is a wreath on each side. To symbolize that, everyone makes their own head wreaths out of summer flowers and wears them to the dance. This is the weirdest part of the holiday. We dance as a group around it while holding hands that create a circle. There is traditional dances that we do every year, which is very childish and suited for younger people, but everyone usually do it no matter your age.