Local Traditions and Customs in Sweden
Like many northern European countries customs and traditions in Sweden can often be fairly international and not too different from our own. There are, however, a few local customs and traditions worth knowing about if you are planning on visiting the country. Let’s take a look at some of the more important ones:
- Christmas - the Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th December. Their kids get presents from Tomte who is a bit of a mix of Father Christmas and an elf.
- Coffee Breaks - the Swedes like to drink coffee and many businesses will have set coffee breaks twice a day.
- Easter - the Swedes like to celebrate Easter by buying birch twigs that have coloured feathers attached to them.
- Midsummer Eve - Swedes celebrate the middle of summer towards the end of June every year.
- Name Days - Swedes will celebrate their name day with a cake and other celebrations.
- Politeness - Swedes use their language to be ultra polite and will often use many thank yous where we would use just one.
- Punctuality - the Swedes are a very punctual people so if you are going to be late for a meeting or a gathering then you really should phone ahead and warn people.
- Swedish National Day - on the 6th June every year Sweden celebrates Swedish National Day.
- Toasting - the Swedes like to toast each other when having a drink. So, if you are invited for dinner then you should wait for the host/hostess to raise a toast before you take a drink. You should also toast back, looking other guests in the eye to be polite.
- Visiting - Swedes don’t generally appreciate people dropping in to visit them at home without an invitation or a prior arrangement.
- Walpurgis Night - the Swedes celebrate Walpurgis Night every year on April 30th. This celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. The 1st of May is a public holiday.
- Work Colleagues/Friends - the Swedes don’t generally mix their work and social lives so will have separate friends for socialising outside the work place in most cases.