Sunday, September 10, 2006
Swedes And Their Beloved Crayfish
Something I love about Sweden, from cultural reading and personal experience, is their extraordinary celebrations around holidays. Virtually every holiday is celebrated with a combination of family/friends, food, alcohol and Swedish traditional songs, sung by everyone around the table, including displaced Americans.
Swedish "Mid-Summer" (approx. June 23rd) is one of the most celebrated of holidays anywhere in the world. The National Holiday is June 7th and Christmas ("Gul"), from what I've heard, is most cherished-a time when Swedish traditions, wintertime comforts and family/friend gatherings are plentiful. One of the more unique Swedish celebrations happens in August, or in my case, during the first week of September.
Crayfish is found throughout Sweden in the many lakes, rivers and seas that surround the country. A crayfish run is a long-standing tradition, one which my company sponsored for all of the employees this past week. On a lake just outside of Linköping in Östergotland (this region of Sweden), I was elected to row the boat, some others placed the cages, then we waited. Of course, during the wait, we gathered around the firepit and dinner table, ate broiled crayfish, sang Swedish folk songs, shared an assortment of special beverages and generally enjoyed a very unique Tuesday evening toward the end of Sweden's summer.
When all was said and done, I had learned through experience a lot more about this new country I am temporarily calling home. My colleagues are a special group that can work and play together and except for a few of us, can also carry quite a tune.
And if you're curious about how many crayfish we caught, well....let's just say that they must've known there was an American trying to be Swedish on this night. See you next week.