Stories from the north Archives - Moz Sweden

Category: Stories from the north

Sweden’s National Day falls on June 6th 


Sweden’s National Day falls on June 6th 

On Swedish National Day, the whole country turns into a giant fika partyEveryone’s waving flags, and strawberry cake practically becomes the national food for the dayPlus, most Swedes get the day off to soak up the sunshine and celebrate. 

Sweden’s National Day – celebrating since 1893 

We Swedes have been celebrating our National Day on June 6th since way back in 1893. It all started when we took inspiration from our neighbors, Norway and Denmark, who celebrate on May 17th and June 5th, respectively. There were a few ideas tossed around for our date, but eventually, June 6th won out. Why? Well, it’s a double whammy – the day King Gustav Vasa was elected back in 1523, and the same day our constitution was signed in 1809. Talk about a day steeped in history!

Believe it or not, even though we’ve been partying on June 6th for over a century, it wasn’t officially declared Sweden’s National Day until 1983. And get this – it wasn’t until 2005 that it became a public holiday, giving everyone a well-deserved day off to celebrate.

Swedish girls with flags, national day

How Swedes celebrate the 6th of June 

Sure, King Gustav Vasa might not be the first thing that pops into mind when we Swedes bust out the blue and yellow for National Day on June 6th. Mostly, it’s a chance to soak up the early summer sun with friends and family. But hey, there are some pretty epic celebrations happening in the cities too!

In Stockholm, you might just catch the King and Queen rolling by in a fancy carriage. Or, for a taste of tradition, head over to Skansen, our open-air museum, for a proper National Day bash. 

But between you and me, Swedes don’t need much to get a party going. Some fika (coffee and treats, duh!), a classic strawberry cake, and the people you love – that’s pretty much the recipe for a perfect National Day. Really, what else do you need? 

King and queen of Sweden, National Day

Spring’s bonfire bash: Sweden’s Walpurgis Night 


Spring’s bonfire bash: Sweden’s Walpurgis Night 

Valborgmässoafton is a traditional spring celebration in Sweden. Expect singalongs, sparkling flames, and maybe a toast or two. 

A medieval party that still rages on

Let’s cozy up by the fire and hear a tale of spring, shall we? Walpurgis, an 8th-century German saint, might be surprised to know Swedes celebrate her namesake as a joyous kick-off to the season. It all started in the Middle Ages, when Germans brought the tradition over. Back then, April 30th marked the end of the official year, making it a natural time for shopkeepers and artisans to whoop it up with a bit of pre-spring revelry. Think trick-or-treating (but with grown-ups!), dancing, and singing – a sure sign warmer days were on their way. 

Fast forward to the 18th century, and bonfires, called majbrasor or kasar, became the stars of the show. Lit to scare off any lingering predators, these crackling flames were backed up by loud noises – think clanging cowbells, booming guns, and good old-fashioned yelling. However, not everyone spent Walpurgis chasing away critters. In some areas, young people went caroling, serenading houses with spring songs in exchange for treats.

P.S. Whispers between us? The name Valborg isn’t just for bonfire celebrations. It’s a beautiful name for a girl, even today.

Choire singing

Sweden says spring with a bang (and a bonfire)

We Swedes mark the end of winter and greet spring with a fiery farewell – Valborgsmässoafton, or bonfire night. Every April 30th, under a sky that (hopefully) starts to lighten up, we gather ’round crackling bonfires, big or small. These blazes can be community affairs, massive pyres built by local groups on public land. But just as often, it’s a cozy backyard bonfire with close friends and family. Fueling the flames? Usually twigs and branches we’ve been meaning to clear anyway. Though, if you prefer a more classic fire, firewood works too! 

Truth be told, the most important ingredient isn’t the fire itself, but the company it brings. It’s about celebrating spring with loved ones, a warm drink in hand, and maybe a little something sizzling on the side. That’s the Swedish way to say hej då to winter and hej to sunshine! 

Bonfire with people watching

Spring is finally here!


Spring is finally here!

Feels like forever after that long, dark winter. But hey, we Swedes don’t care about the temperature – sun’s out, we’re out! Basically, living outside until winter chases us back in.

Come April, Swedes swear spring’s finally sprung. Sure, there might be some leftover snow in the woods, but most places are bursting with green buds. And as soon as that sun peeks out? Boom, Swedes are out too!

Sunshine hits, and bam! Cafés and patios fill up with folks braving the chill. Sunglasses with chunky scarves and fuzzy blankets? Totally normal – gotta soak up that sun with friends over a fika, no matter what!

Must-do list when spring springs

Springtime? Easy to love! Sunshine’s stretching its legs, birds are back in the band, and those trees are turning green again. We Swedes are all about soaking up the good vibes, so here’s how to score some spring magic:

  1. Lunch break walk with coworkers – fresh air is the new happy hour!
  2. Fika time! Grab coffee and a cinnamon roll, hit the park, or find a nature escape.
  3. Café date with your crush – spring air sparks romance, you know?

By now you get the picture: fika is your spring BFF. Coffee and a cinnamon roll? Makes any day better.

Fössta tossdan i mass


Fössta tossdan i mass

Mark your calendars, fika enthusiasts! Every first Thursday in March, a delicious tradition unfolds in the southern Swedish province of Småland. It’s a day dedicated to celebrating the region’s vibrant dialects and, of course, indulging in the delectable marzipan cake known as ’prinsesstårta’ (princess cake). What started as a local tradition has now spread its sweetness throughout all of Sweden!

Marsipantårta – the princess of cakes

Sweden’s unofficial Småland Day throws a spotlight on the legendary princess cake, the undisputed ruler of Swedish sweets. This iconic treat features a light and airy sponge cake layered with tangy raspberry jam, velvety vanilla custard, and light-as-air whipped cream. The pièce de résistance? A smooth blanket of marzipan adorned with a delicate rose.

Tradition dictates that only a cake clad in vibrant green marzipan earns the title of ’prinsesstårta.’ While you can find pink, blue, or even rainbow-hued marzipan versions (because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of whimsy?), these are simply ’marsipantårta.’ It’s that enchanting green hue that truly ascends this dessert to royalty!

Princesstårta, grön marsipan

Why we celebrate ’fössta tossdan i mass’

This light-hearted, modern-day tradition has been rollin’ since 2010, and its roots go all the way back to the unique accents of Småland, where the letter ’R’ gets its own special treatment. See, in many Småland dialects, that tricky ’R’ sound tends to vanish when it gets stuck next to another consonant.

The first Thursday in March, or ’fössta tossdan i mass’ as they say in Småland, throws a linguistic curveball for many locals. Packed with those tricky ’R’ sounds, it’s like saying a mouthful of marbles! Even ’marsipantårta’ (marzipan cake) becomes a tongue twister. But here’s the twist: they chose this date precisely because it’s so ridiculously ’R’-heavy, a quirky celebration of their unique speech. So ditch the R’s, double the S’s, and voila! ’Fössta tossdan i mass’ emerges, smooth and Småländsk on the tongue.

Girl holding the letter R

Julmust – The Swedish Christmas beverage 


Julmust – The Swedish Christmas beverage 

Julmust is a beloved, sparkling Christmas drink – and for some people, it’s also the start of the Christmas season!

What is julmust? 

Julmust is a dark, non-alcoholic sparkling beverage, similar to Coca-Cola in its sweetness, color and fizz, yet very different in flavor and taste. This lovely drink has a spicy character, with hints of dark caramel and a touch of hops – the same ingredient used in beer brewing – making it a little less sweet and a bit more mellow and savory.

Julmust is typically sold from November to the end of December, and it’s estimated that around 30 million liters of julmust are consumed by the end of December!

Glass of julmust christmas decoration

Julmust recipe

Describing the taste of julmust is hard. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, and no one knows the exact ingredients. In fact, rumor has it that the original recipe is safely locked away in a vault, accessible to only a few selected individuals! What we do know is that the julmust syrup contains hops, malt, and a blend of spices – but the identity of those spices will remain a mystery! And perhaps that’s part of the charm and love of julmust?

Hops on a table

Autumn is here: welcoming the cozy season 


Autumn is here: welcoming the cozy season 

Oh, how we love autumn! The days may be grey and gloomy, but it’s the perfect season to light a fire, cuddle up with a fika and spend some time together.

When November arrives, it gets colder and the days get darker. But did you know that autumn is the perfect season to spend time with your loved ones?  
 
As the weather gets harsher, the more reason we have to snuggle up indoors. Why not light a warming, crackling fire in your fireplace if you have the chance? Invite your closest friends over for a nice long fika with tea, hot chocolate and freshly baked cinnamon rolls, enjoying each other’s company for a few hours. Treat yourself to a good book while enjoying a lovely cup of tea? Take a long bubble bath or watch your favourite movie.

Autumn is the season of slowing down – nature takes a break and sometimes we need to do so too.

To-dos for autumn days

A soothing realisation is that it doesn’t take much to make something of your day. Here we have listed some autumn activities that will make you appreciate autumn as much as we do!

  1. Light up some candles as soon as darkness falls.
  2. Invite your friends over to play board games or cards.
  3. Put your phone away and pick up a good book instead.
  4. Light a fire if you have the chance.
  5. Take a slow walk in nature – a ’höstpromenad’, as we Swedes say.
  6. Listen to music while enjoying a big cup of tea.
  7. Cuddle up to your favourite film.
  8. Invite family and friends over for your favourite fika.

Find whatever makes you smile and unwind. It’s not hard to wish for a rainy day when you can stay at home and pamper yourself or spend time with the people you love.

How do you spend your autumn days?

Mother and daughter eating popcorn

Kladdkakans dag – Mud Cake Day 


Kladdkakans dag – Mud Cake Day 

Kladdkaka is a delicious chocolate mud cake, celebrated on the 7th of November. Celebrate “Kladdkakans dag” with this delicious mud cake recipe!

Recipe for Swedish kladdkaka

Kladdkaka is a forgiving cake, as it is meant to be ’undone’ – sticky, gooey and simply delicious. Mud cake is just as good straight from the oven as it is after being stored in the fridge overnight. The only way to find out which version you like best is simply to enjoy it at least two days in a row!

Ingredients:
– 100 g butter
– 2 eggs
– 1.5 dl wheat flour
– 3 dl white sugar
– 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
– 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Ingredients mud cake

How to make kladdkaka:

  • Turn on the oven at 150°C.
  • Butter up an oven dish, preferably a round one, with a diameter of about 20-30 cm.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  • When the butter has melted, add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a smooth chocolate batter.
  • Pour the batter into the oven dish. The cake should be quite thin, so don’t worry about not filling the whole dish.
  • Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before serving.Don’t expect to get perfect slices of mud cake when you serve it fresh out of the oven! The result is supposed to be rather muddy and sticky, which at first glance may not look like success. But don’t worry: the flavour will be surprisingly tasty. Serve your cake with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream – or, why not, with both!
Whipping ingredients mud cake

All Saints’ Day


All Saints’ Day

Alla helgonas dag is a time of peacefulness and love. We celebrate and remember the people we have lost, as cemeteries and memorial groves are filled with bright lights and candles.

How Alla helgons dag is celebrated

Today All Saints’ Day falls on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6 and is quite the opposite of the popular American celebration of Halloween, spooky and trick-or-treat-filled.

All Saints’ Day is a serene celebration of all those loved ones we have lost, a time to gather with family to remember and reminisce. There are no special traditions or “rules” for celebrating All Saints’ Day. Many people visit the graves of their loved ones to leave flowers, teddy bears and other tokens of their everlasting love and to light memorial candles. Graveside candle flames are long-burning and are protected by special lids to prevent them from going out.

If you do not have the opportunity to light a candle at the graves of your departed loved ones, you can easily light one at home and devote it to someone you cherish. Gather family or friends – the ones you want to celebrate or remember someone special with – and enjoy a quiet dinner together, or maybe just a fika. Whatever way you want to remember someone is the right way – especially today, in a global world where friends and family may be scattered all over the globe.

Lighting candles to mark Alla helgons dag is a simple and lovely way to come together, no matter where you are. It reminds us to love each other and spread light in the dark months of winter.

Graveyard with lots of candles

Sportlov


Sportlov

Sportlov is a special week off for many school children. This week in February is meant to be spent outdoors, to enjoy the fresh air and make a fun week out of a gloomy month.

What is sportlov?

Sportlov is a school holiday where children get a week off school in February to enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with friends and family. Today, many families go away on skiing holidays, or spend time outside sledding, having picnics or taking hikes in nature reserves. It’s the key holiday for winter activities and winter sports, and a welcoming break in an otherwise gloomy month.

  • Boy with Moz on the sleigh
  • Fika in the sun
  • Cross country skiing, sportlov
  • Boy getting kisses from dog

The origin of sportlov

The week of sportlov has been around since the 1940’s, but in the beginning it had nothing to do with letting kids enjoy the snow – quite the opposite. During the beginning of the second World War, fuels and heating supplies became very expensive, forcing schools to close for a week in order to save both money and fuel. Sweden experienced some of the harshest and coldest winters during WW2, and closing schools was a way to handle the shortage and expenses of heating fuels.

What to do during sportlov

There are several activities you can do during sports holiday. Many of them don’t even require going away: you can have a lovely and fun sports holiday at home with the family, enjoying the outdoors without any major preparations.

  1. Spend a day in the ”pulkabacke”. A ”pulkabacke” is a small hill dedicated for sledding. Since many small hills are covered in snow in February, going sledding is fun for the whole family
  2. Go for a winter picnic. Load up the thermos with hot chocolate and pack a bag for a day out in the woods or nature reserve. Cinnamon buns, hotdogs, blankets and gloves are needed to enjoy the fresh air
  3. Build a snowman! And let your imagination go wild. If there’s snow outside, make a whole village – or maybe a castle? A real size horse, or why not a big igloo? Make sure to seize those snowy days.
  4. If you have the opportunity, go skiing. Going on a skiing holiday is one of the most classic activities for sports holiday. Nothing beats the feeling after a snowy day in the slopes!

Fettisdagen – day of the cream bun


Fettisdagen – day of the cream bun

Fettisdagen is translated as ”fat Tuesday” ans has its roots way back in Swedish history. Today, it’s a loved and celebrated tradition where the beloved cream bun ”semla” can be found at every café.

What is a semla?

The cream bun called ”semla” is a fluffy bun made of wheat, spiced up with cardamom. The bun is split and the inside is filled with a soft marzipan paste, and topped off with fluffy, whipped cream. The top of the split bun is placed on top of the cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

It’s the bakery goods of bakery goods, and many Swedes have personal preferences on how the bun should be assembled. Some like more or less of the marzipan paste – some want whole pieces of almonds – and some like to eat the bun in a bowl of warm milk: a so-called ”hetvägg”.

Semla with Swedish flag

The history of Fettisdagen

The reason for the bun’s existence is that people needed to ”fat up”, and eat before the traditional fasting. The fasting occurred before the Easter holidays, and after Christmas, and today it’s celebrated in February.

The first written notice of semla in Sweden was made around the year 1670. Back then it was a dry wheat bun that might have been filled with raisins and nuts, ans it needed to be boiled in hot milk for several hours in order to make it edible. But it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the bun became more common in every home, since wheat flour had been a luxury good for centuries.