Frogs, ducks and crayfish: A crash course in weird Swedish traditions 

You are fortunate if you are spending a whole year in Sweden. For an entire world, you would be better prepared for extraordinary traditions. Podcaster Oliver Gee of the Earful Sweden shared five unusual traditions of the Swedish years.

Ten years ago, When I first saw the Swedish “Little Frog Festival,” I thought I was being mocked.

Dance, dance, the Swedes insisted. Be like a frog! No ears, no tails!

What was happening? I joined in, waiting for everyone to start laughing at me. I was feeling like a fool. But no one laughed. They were making repeated noises like a little frog. That was seemingly Kouackackack.

Go back a decade, and I’m married to Sweden. I know all the lyrics to the frog song. But I still raise eyebrows at many Swedish traditions. Here are my five favourite traditions, most common among ordinary Swedish.

The Creamy Bun Feast

As Local Sweden puts it, semmeldagen is just another day of madness. And uniquely, people go nuts for this sweet and fat treat. This bread is vast, about the size of a large mac. And it is impossible to eat without covering your face with whipped cream or powdered sugar. It is said that King Adolf Friedrich died in 1771, after eating 14 of them for dessert.

The Freckled Easter Witches

Most Swedes don’t realize how unusual it is, but they prepare their children with a swarm of sparrows and big things on their faces on Easter. Most Swedes don’t understand how rare it is. But on Easter, they prepare their children with broomstick-riding witches and big things on their faces. Like Halloween, these witches collect candy from their neighbours. They have put brightly coloured feathers on their trees to celebrate the occasion.

The Small Frog Dance

My favourite tradition is a small frog dance. On the eve of Midsummer, the Swedes erected a large flower maypole. Then, copying little frogs, they dance around the pole. They sing a song called Små Grodorna.

The lyrics are: Small frogs, small frogs, are strange to look at, nary an ear or a tail dost they have, Kouackackack, Kouackackack, Kouackackack (Clearly, this is the sound of a tiny frog).

Today, there are even extra rough traditions, such as girls gathering seven different flowers and flying over seven barriers to dream of true love. But nothing beats the frog for the eyebrow-raising tradition.

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