Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Unique Holiday in Sweden

Waffles anyone? Sweden celebrates a unique holiday later this month. It's a holiday that marks the beginning of spring. Swedes throw outdoor celebrations to toast the long hours of daylight at midsummer. They mark the end of summer with crayfish parties. Lucia brings light to the darkest day of the year in winter. On the 25th of March, Swedes celebrate the arrival of spring with Våffeldagen, Waffle Day.

On the old Swedish church calendar, Waffle Day coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, a day in which families battered up a batch of crisp, fruit topped waffles to commemorate the religious holiday and the start of spring. Våffeldagen is no longer on the Swedish religious calendar, but the tradition of celebrating Waffle Day at the beginning of spring lives on.

The heavenly aroma of waffles woke me up out of my jet lag on my arrival in Stockholm, my very first meal on my first trip to Sweden. I had time to explore Stockholm before meeting my Swedish family for a trip to the Närke countryside. Like most tourists, I found myself on the medieval, cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan (old town) first. Gamla Stan is home to many waffle stands and a few waffle shops. My first Swedish meal: waffles with jam and whip cream. Absolutely delicious and a great way to wake up after 14 hours of flying!

There's a growing list of unique holidays across the globe: Fruitcake Toss Day (January 3rd), Singles Awareness Day (February 15th), Polar Bear Day (February 27th), International Tuba Day (first Friday in May) and International No Diet Day (May 6th). But my new favorite is Waffle Day. Mark your calendar. March 25th.

No comments: