March in Sweden is a mouth-watering affair this year! Starting strong with Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) at the beginning of the month and ending with Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) – YLC has the lowdown on these yummy Swedish Spring traditions.
Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) Tuesday 4th of March
Like anyone faced with a prospect of fasting for forty days, Swedes binge 41 days before Lent. In the UK we do pancakes; here, they’re more sophisticated, indulging in Semlor, cardamom-spiced buns with its top cut off and its insides scooped out and replaced with almond paste and whipped cream.
The original version was just a sweet roll in hot milk and indeed some Swedes do still have them served that way, known as hetvägg (loosely, hot wall). The annual première of semla-eating has crept all the way to early January and since Swedes stopped observing traditional fasting, every (tues)day until Easter could be considered a fettisdag. To be honest, every day is a fat day for YLC when there’s semlor around!
Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) Tuesday, 25th March
The origins of this annual indulgence started out loftily enough. March 25th was always respected as a national holiday in Sweden, since it marked ‘Annunciation Day’ in the Christian calendar. It is said that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that she would conceive and become mother of Jesus Christ on this day, known as Vårfrudagen, Our Lady’s Day. This was pronounced in some dialects as ‘Vafferdagen‘ and vaffer was an old Swedish word for waffle. The corruption of the word morphed into official Våffeldagen we now know and enjoy.
Confused? Never mind, just head down to your local café and enjoy the taste of spring, which this day historically marks. Or why not make some waffles for your family – why not try this traditional Scandinavian recipe.
Featured Image: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Waffle Image: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se