Photo: Jonas Tufvesson/Shutterstock

8 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Sweden

Sweden Student Work
by Madelaine Triebe Sep 29, 2015

1. You’ve tried snus.

Black, grainy tobacco that smells like urine packed into white little bags? Yes, you have definitely put that stuff under your lip at least once in your lifetime. Most likely General portion, Catch Mini or something “lightweight” if it was your first time. If you’re from Gothenburg or a hard-core snus user, you went for the loose tobacco, pressed it into a prilla with your fingers, and tucked it under your lip.

2. You’re highly trained in jantelagen.

You’ve been raised not to brag, self-promote, or stand out in any way. Most importantly you have been raised not to think you’re anything special (Du ska inte tro att du är någon). Although you most likely haven’t read the book by Aksel Sandemose where he coined the expression, your persona and sense of morality is most likely shaped by this “law.”

3. You love salty licorice.

Candy that’s more salty than sweet? Hell yeah. You love it and crave it on a regular basis. Djungelvrål, kritor, turkisk peppar, Salta S — you’d have those assorted sweets any day. That red stuff the Americans call licorice? You just think it’s wrong and don’t even know where to start. Or you do. To begin with, it’s not licorice.

4. You match the color palette of your wardrobe with the dark December nights.

Your wardrobe consists of black, black, and blacker. During winter your everyday costume is black skinny jeans, a black jumper, black ACNE pistols or black Whyred jodhpurs. You wear more black than Death in Bergman’s “Det sjunde inseglet.”

5. You don’t celebrate 6th of June, but you’re thrilled it’s another day off.

The Americans have the 4th of July, the French the 14th of July, and the Norwegian Syttende may. You have 6th of June, but you don’t really understand the fuss about your country’s national day. You don’t shoot fireworks, don’t waive the Swedish flag in big parades or give boisterous declarations on egalité, fraternité and liberté. Neither do you dress up in a folklore costume, but if it’s nice weather you’ll put on your sandals and have a picnic in the park.

6. You think Midsummer is as important as Christmas.

You think missing out on this summer festivity is as much a cultural faux pas as an American not celebrating 4th of July or Christians skipping Christmas. Midsummer is a day where you gather with family or friends, sing snapsvisor and dance around the Maypole. It’s something you don’t even have to plan, as you have a standing tradition of celebrating it at a friend’s or your parents’ summerhouse with the same group of people every year.

7. You celebrate Christmas on the 24th.

Eating, having family over, getting presents from Santa Claus, watching Kalle Ankas jul — it all goes down on the 24th. On the 25th, when the rest of the non-Scandic Western world do their Christmas thing, you rest, eat some more, and go out with your friends to party.

8. You always take your shoes off when you enter someone’s house.

You’ve done it ever since you started to walk, and don’t find it weird when your local gym enforces the same practice. You understand the impracticalities of wearing outdoor wear inside, and don’t want to drag the dirt from outside into someone’s home. 

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