6 Things To Know About Sweden

Sweden (NOT Switzerland) is a small country in Northern Europe. Here are somethings you should know about Sweden.

1. FIKA - a social cup of coffee. A fika is so much more than a coffee break, it's a social phenomenon. A legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. You meet with friends, family or colleagues for a cup of coffee or tea and usually some sweets. Swedes usually go for a fika everyday, sometimes more than once.

2. Å Ä Ö. Most swedes speak English, but if you ever want to move to Sweden you should learn Swedish. Swedish is not an easy language to learn, especially because we have three more letters than the English alphabet. After Z we have Å, Ä and Ö. Å can be thought of as the 'au' in "Paul" (British accent). Ä can be thought of as the 'ai' in "pair" or "hair". Ö can be thought of as the 'i' in "bird".

3. Lagom. There's no direct translation for the word Lagom. Loosely translated it means "appropriate" or "just enough". For example, if you ask someone how much ice cream they want and they answer lagom, you just have to give them the perfect amount of ice cream (their opinion of a perfect amount, of course).

4. Take off your shoes! In Sweden you should always take off your shoes when you walk inside. Some people say it's a sign of respect for the home. Others simply just don't want to clean the floors everyday. In some schools you have to take off your shoes before entering the classrooms.

5. Winters are cold and dark! Sweden's geographical location make the winters long, cold and dark. In some parts of the country, you might get as little as three hours of sunlight per day. Though somedays there's no daylight at all. Winter runs from November/December to March. But if you survive the cold, dark winters, you get rewarded during the beautiful summers were the sun never sets for weeks at a time.

7. Lucia. On December 13th swedes celebrate St. Lucia's Day, a celebration of the Patron Saint of light. Sankta Lucia (Saint Lucy) is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash with a crown of candles in her hair. Behind her there is girls with white dresses and red sashes holding candles in their hands. Boys can also be in the Luciatrains dressed up as something associated with Christmas. They sing Lucia and Christmas songs. On Lucia you eat gingerbread cookies and Lucia Buns or Lussebullar.

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