25 May 2024
April Fools Post – Traditions: Meatballs, Melodi Madness and Midsummer Elixir
Community Swedish Culture

April Fools Post – Traditions: Meatballs, Melodi Madness and Midsummer Elixir

Every now and then you come across some truly zany Swedish traditions. The odd thing is that they all seem to happen in April! In which other country do you get to dress up as a giant meatball? And where else are bonfires started in preparation for Eurovision? Most astonishing of all is the decision to preserve snow – surely we’ve all had enough now!

Swedish Meatballs

This was posted as an April Fools joke – we’re keeping it on site for a chuckle. For the real April traditions in Sweden article, click here.


Köttbullens dag (Meatball Day): Wednesday April 3rd

Hot on the heels of Våffeldagen and Fettisdagen comes the commemoration of arguably Sweden’s most famous dish, the meatball. Of course, it’s necessary to eat köttbullar for dinner (and preferably lunch and breakfast if you can stomach it), but the real joy in this tradition comes to parents, who have license to dress their children up as meatballs for the day. They can then visit neighbours, demanding gräddsås. Be sure to have some in stock for when you get the knock! Glad Köttbullsdag!


Eurovisions-eldar (Eurovision Bonfires): Sunday 14th April

Anyone who watched the crazed fans in Stockholm last month will know how much Swedes appreciate Melodifestivalen, which is where the Swedish entry for the Eurovision song contest is chosen. April is where the whole thing gets a little out of hand; the municipalities, (kommuner) will organise bonfires (eldar) where effigies of all the candidates from other countries are solemnly burned on April 14th. As each country’s representative is consumed by the flames, the organisers dance around the fire, chanting Abba’s ‘The winner takes it all‘. The fire is then kept burning until the contest itself, held this year in Malmö, Sweden on the 18th May. Best warn Bonnie Tyler.


Den sista snön som fallit (The last snow fallen): varies, but usually in April

As someone who suffers from seeing snow in April, I cannot imagine anyone is anything but unhappy to see it in ‘Spring’. But on these Northern shores it is traditional to gather den sista snön som fallit, ‘the last snow fallen’ and preserve it in a tin, especially for the purpose. How anyone is meant to know that this is the last snow is anyone’s guess (I just used my best judgement last year), but the closer it is to being the last one, the better effects you will get. You must then keep the tin in your freezer until Midsommarafton, where you can add it to the first nubbe (schnapps) drunk at the first toast of the day (and there’s sure to be many).

This is said to give Swedish men and women their famous Scandinavian beauty. I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready to give it a go! Skål!


Photo Credit: Megan Cromik

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