Tag Archives: holiday

Wax on, wax off

Yesterday was Lucia day here in Sweden, the holiday where we celebrate St. Lucia and the light in the darkness this time of year.

Two things fascinate me about this holiday:

1. The major fire hazard

2. How does the Lucia get all that wax out of her hair?

Well, the answer to number one is that there is always somebody nearby with a bucket of water (this was my job last year). And yesterday, I found out the answer to number two when I talked to the girl who was Lucia at a concert I went to. She kindly allowed me to take a picture of the wax in her hair (most of which had already fallen out), and I was able to touch some and found that in fact, it did crumble and come out right away. I always figured the Lucia went to the hairdresser to cut everything off on December 14, but I am glad to know now that the wax does come out.

IMG_9290

Valborg

Today is Valborg.  This is the holiday in Sweden where people build bonfires to burn off the winter branches to welcome in the spring (or something like that).  Personally, I think it’s just a good way to get rid of old Christmas trees.

valb

Watch out for witches

Well, it’s Easter Thursday again here in Sweden, so I feel it is my duty to inform you once again this year that Sweden will be filled with little witches demanding candy and then flying off to their blue hill.

Yeah, I don’t get it either, but it equals candy, so yea!

On Thursdays, the children dress up as witches (though they look more like hags with scarves) and go trick-or-treating for candy in the evening.  Normally they trade Easter cards they have made for candy, unless they are just greedy and lazy.

Then the legend has it that the witches fly off to Blåkulla, but my kids are usually too full of candy to do any flying.  It’s more like stumbling to a blue bean bag to stuff their faces full of candy and pass out on a sugar high.

If you’re interested in the real story of how and why the Swedes celebrate this way, check here:  http://somethingswedish.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/witches-in-sweden/

Glad_pask_1943

Why can’t we be more Czech

Last winter, our family went to Prague for the Christmas market.  We discovered a wonderful thing about Christmastime there – they start selling hot wine at 10 in the morning!  No wonder the entire city was so happy!  Stockholm needs to catch up with this.  In fact, the whole world should catch up with this.  The Czechs know how to make the holiday season a stress-free one. 🙂

All hail the mighty cinnamon bun!

One of the best things about Sweden is all the pastry-themed holidays.  Today is Cinnamon bun day!  When I asked why we have a cinnamon bun day, I was told – so they can sell more cinnamon buns.  Brilliant!  That’s all the reason I need.

We also have Luciadagen, with saffron buns (this lasts through Christmas).

Semlor… ahhhhh….. the Mardi Gras pastry.  It’s meant to be eaten at Mardi Gras, but has now been pushed up to every Tuesday starting in January through Mardi Gras.  Works for me.  I don’t know what’s in it, except that it’s goodness and a king died by eating 16 of them.  What a great death!

Waffle day is March 25.  I am told this is a mis-translation of Var fru dagen (Our lady’s day) and that over the years it turned into the similar sounded Vafflordagen (waffle day).  Whether this story is true or not, it’s a good excuse to eat waffles.

So don’t forget your cinnamon bun today!  Remember, if it’s a holiday, it’s good for you!

Discount Airlines

Let me tell you a little story about a trip we took on one of these discount airlines.  To protect the airlines identity, I’ll call them Lyin Air.

We chose Lyin Air because we found a price to our destination that was incredibly low and because it was hard to believe anything could be that bad.  We thought wrong.

Lyin Air is “conveniently located” at Skavsta Airport – over an hour from Stockholm.  Skavsta “airport” is really just an old warehouse hanger with no order to it at all.  People either mill around or buy an overpriced soggy sandwich and dream of Starbucks at Arlanda airport.

Lyin Air does not assign seats.  This is a terrible idea.  You either stand in line hours before as if you were waiting for concert tickets, or suffer the consequence of being seated next to the bathroom between a man who doesn’t believe in showers and a screaming baby.

Once the door is open, however, the line matters not.  It’s a mad dash for the airplane, which is parked on the tarmac.  Whoever is the fastest gets the best seats.  Sorry grandma!

Even if you manage to get the seat you wanted, there will be no rest.  I have never in my life experienced seats that close together and without seat pockets.  How much money can you save on seat pockets?

Once the plane is in the air, it turns into a crowded baseball game.  I kid you not, the crew walk up and down the aisle constantly yelling, “candy, drinks, smokeless cigarettes?”   It never ends.  I made the mistake of asking for a coke.  A third of a coke can costs 4 dollars.

Once the flight touches down, a trumpet fanfare plays.  What is the meaning behind this?  It’s like when people clap after a particularly bumpy flight where they were all convinced they were going to die.  Is the trumpet fanfare to celebrate that we actually made it?  Because that’s the only thing going through my head.

Never again Lyin Air!  I will pay the extra hundred dollars for my assigned seat, Starbucks and piece of mind.

%d bloggers like this: