An imprisoned man named Valentine, who lived in the 200s, is said to have written the first Valentine Card to the jailer's daughter before he was executed on February 14th.
But who was Valentine then? Well though there is no certain explanation, the most famous story tells the tale of a Christian man named Valentine who lived during the 200s and who was imprisoned and martyred in Rome around 269. The crime he was convicted for - ordaining young couples. Something which was strictly against emperor Claudius II orders.
During Valentine's time in prison he was in contact with the jailer's daughter, who brought him food and messages. And prior to Valentines execution, on February 14th, he wrote a farewell letter to her signed by "Your Valentine". This is said to be the first Valentine card and the start of the tradition of sending each other cards on this date.
The tradition to celebrate Valentine's Day in Sweden, a day which in Swedish is called Alla Hjärtans Dag - All Hearts Day (literal translation), is rather young actually. In fact, the first attempt to adopt the Valentine Day celebration in Sweden was in 1956 when a department store displayed Valentine's Day for the first time. But no one cared much about it. Therefore Valentine's Day remained a foreign tradition up until the 1990s, which was when it became part of the Swedish festival calendar. Something which instantly boosted the interest for this celebration. Today most Swedes know about and celebrate Valentine's Day in some form.
So, despite the possible brutal start of the Valentine Day tradition, I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day! Lots of ♥♥♥ from Sweden!! :-)
Today we celebrate Fat Tuesday in Sweden, which means that we eat a super delicious pastry called Semla. But not only is today a treat filled day because of this, it also happens that today is my mum's birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! Which has meant that I also got treated to a very yummy Sandwich Cake earlier today when we celebrated her birthday. Of course she got treated to a lot of birthday presents in return. :-)
It was filled with lots of yummy seafood, salmon, eggs, vegetables, cheese and more.
My (not so small) piece. Lol! ;p
My dog Lisen waited patiently for her turn. :-)
A bit later it was time for dessert, a Danish pastry type of Lenten Bun (Semla) filled with the traditional sweet filling of almond paste and whipped cream. So we did not eat a traditional Lenten Bun to celebrate Fat Tuesday this year. I first tried this version of a Semla - Lenten Bun last year and really liked it, because it was not as heavy as a traditional one. Which fitted great today, because of the Sandwich Cake we had earlier.
This is how a Semla should be eaten, the lid first with some delicious filling that has been scooped up. And with a big cup of black coffee. :p
Of course this little lady got some Semla too! :-)
Another fun thing I found out recently was that my blog was chosen as number 24 on a list of Top 100 Pet Blogs to follow in 2013 - yay! I have posted the entire list at Top 100 Pet Blogs To Follow In 2013.
So it certainly has been a treat filled day today, in more than one delicious way. ;p
Today we celebrate Tulip Day here in Sweden, so in honor of this day I of course had to buy me some gorgeous tulips. :-) Below are some photos of the many colourful tulips I encountered today in the stores, as well as some snaps of the tulips I bought.
Pink bird's nest.
Snow white. (One of the two bouquets of tulips I bought today.)
Welcome, my tulips.
To find out why we celebrate Tulip Day in Sweden and to read some fun facts about Swedes relationship with tulips, check out my page --> Swedish Tulip Day Traditions.
That is right, today we celebrate Cinnamon Bun Day here in Sweden! Woot woot! I am always fond of celebrations that include food of some sorts, hehe, so therefore I am naturally an eager participant in today's celebration of the delicious Cinnamon Bun.
Today's Cinnamon Bun, with a pink pearl sugar twist.
Now the Cinnamon Bun was first introduced in Swedish households in the 1920s. The main ingredients in Cinnamon Buns are; wheat flour, milk, yeast, sugar and butter. The dough is also often seasoned with cardamom. The classic Cinnamon Bun filling consists of butter, sugar and cinnamon. The first celebration of Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden took place on October 4th in 1999.
To read more about the origin of Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden and the introduction of Cinnamon Buns in Swedish households, check out my page --> Cinnamon Bun Day In Sweden.
And this is the cute Cinnamon Bun I had with my coffee earlier today. Yum!
Though I am not sure if any other country celebrate this day today? I still want to wish everyone, all over the Globe, a continued Happy Cinnamon Bun Day! :p
So this Friday was Midsummer's Eve here in Sweden, a day which I actually think feels more like Sweden's National Day than the actual Swedish National Day. I say that because the celebration of Sweden's National Day is rather new, compared with the celebration of Midsummer's Eve in Sweden. Anyway, Midsummer's Eve is also a day that, at least for me, revolves a lot around Swedish food. :p
A Swedish Midsummer Pole.
Now I did go to check out a Midsummer Pole on Midsummer's Eve, but unfortunately the games and dances around the pole had already ended when I got there... Probably because the weather was a bit unreliable. Even so, I did take a few photos of it. I also took photos of the rest of my Midsummer Eve highlights of course, which mainly consisted of different foods though. Lol! Actually, I am starting to think I might be a bit food obsessed..? Ehum...
Anyway, below are some photos from my Midsummer's Eve 2012. :-)
The Midsummer Pole in Rödeby in Sweden. Where most festivities were over when I arrived, but a few children where still playing around the Midsummer Pole though. :-)
After my visit to the Midsummer Pole it was time for Midsummer lunch. Which consisted of...
... boiled Swedish new potatoes with fresh dill.
Boiled egg halves with mayonnaise, fresh dill, shrimp and crayfish tails.
A super simple cold sauce made with sour cream and fresh chives.
Different types of pickled herring, pickles from the left are: onion, French onion and tomato.
And of course the classic, and most popular, pickled herring on the Swedish Midsummer table - Matie Herring.
Now the difference between pickled Matie herring and "normal" pickled herring is that Matie herring is caught in early autumn, just before the herring becomes mature to mate. This is when the fish has the correct fat content, size and has eaten the type of food which gives it its special Matie herring flavour.
My favourite pickled herring though, and pretty much the only pickled herring I eat, is pickled onion herring (in the photo). I think Matie herring tastes a bit too salty and mushy. Pickled onion herring, on the other hand, has a bit more texture and firmness to it and tastes a bit salt and sour - which I like.
My Midsummer lunch plate. To drink I had a Swedish beer (Mariestad) and a Swedish snaps (OP Anderson Aquavit). Now the proper and traditional way to drink snaps on Midsummer's Eve is to sing a snapsvisa - booze song before you drink it, but I think it is quite suffice to just say SKÅL - Cheers. ;p
In the afternoon it was time for the all important and traditional home made Midsummer Strawberry Cake with fresh Swedish strawberries - which my sister made this year. Yuuuuumm!! :p
My piece! :p The Strawberry Cake was made out of sponge cake, without fat, and filled with crushed strawberries and vanilla custard. It was then covered with whipped cream and strawberries. Insanely delicious!!! And very hard to stop eating...
Now the weather was alright on Midsummer's Eve during the day, barely any rain. But of course when we decided light the grill in the evening...
... it started to rain quite heavily.
But thanks to the lid on the grill, we managed to barbecue these treats anyway. On the grill: corn, veggie sausages and two T-bone steaks.
My Midsummer barbecue plate. T-bone steak, corn, egg (from lunch), a little bit of bought potato salad and some home made potato salad. Another BIG yum!
Of course during this eat fest my dog Lisen held a close eye under the table, in case anyone were to drop something edible. Diva however, the furry doggy behind Lisen, tried her luck a bit more up close to the action. Hehe. Naturally both doggies got a lot of goodies and treats to eat on this day too! :-)
I told you I think I have become a bit food obsessed... Lol! But really, food is an important part of the Midsummer celebration. Dancing around the Midsummer Pole and wearing Midsummer Crowns are also a big part of course, but more for children and families I think. So, despite the over eating, my Midsummer's Eve was pretty calm this year. Which was kind of nice. Now I just have to work off those insane amount of extra calories I have eaten lately... Yikes! Good thing the next big Swedish food fest is not until August, when the Crayfish Party Season starts. Yihaa! ;p
So I wish all amazing mamas a truly Happy Mother's Day! My sister and I celebrated our beloved mum with some hand picked Lily Of The Valleys, a home made cake, a "Best Mum" mug and a Mother's Day Card. We also made her dinner. :-)
Mother's Day treats my sister and I gave our mum.
Now the custom of celebrating Mother's Day, which of course is a special day when children celebrate their mothers, began with an American woman, teacher Anna Jarvis (1864-1948), in Philadelphia in 1907 who wanted to celebrate her deceased mother's memory with a sermon in church. Jarvis wanted the sermon to focus on the fourth commandment and mother's love, which it did. The church was also decorated by Jarvis herself and white carnations where given out to all visitors, her mother's favorite flower. In the coming years Mother's Day spread throughout the rest of the United States and in 1914 it became an official holiday.
In Sweden, Mother's Day was celebrated for the first time in 1919 at the initiative of author Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg (1857-1920), who in the journal "På Vakt" - "On Guard" brought up the tradition. Bååth-Holmberg also suggested that Mother's Day should be celebrated on the last Sunday of May instead, because flowers would be in bloom in most of the country by then. She actually also published a "guidance" on HOW to celebrate one's mother.
So in 1920 the booklet "Instructions for the celebration of Mother's Day" was sent out in Sweden. In it were six points to show Swedes how to celebrate this new tradition. And the six points were:
1. The Swedish flag is hoisted from the home's flagpole.
2. Mother is greeted in the morning with singing by the children.
3. She is offered, before getting out of bed, great coffee and bread prepared by the children. She is being honored with flowers and a small gift.
4. She is given, as far as possible, rest and freedom from all the housework during the day. The children make beds, sweep, cook and wash dishes.
5. At afternoon coffee or in evening a small ceremony is held where the father of the family is involved. Something beautiful is read aloud by heart, and a heartfelt thank you is given to Mother, who is the home's cohesive force. The children ask for Mother's forgiveness for disobedience and lack of gratitude for everything that has caused Mother sorrow, groans, troubles and difficulties.
6. Absent child greets Mother via letter or telegram or postcard, that has been especially made and provided for Mother's Day.
I just love when I find little treats like these, so funny to read how they thought back then. Anyway, despite this lovely booklet it was not until many decades later that Mother's Day was recognized to a larger extent in Sweden. And today Mother's day is actually celebrated in 46 countries around the world, though not on the same date.
But even though we do not celebrate Mother's Day on the same day in all parts of the world, I do wish all Mothers out there a (perhaps again) Happy Mother's Day! I mean, you really cannot celebrate or appreciate a mum too much. At least not in my book. :p
It is Easter Eve today here in Sweden, which to me nowadays means eating eggs, lamb steak dinner and lots of candy. All of which I have done today. So it has been a pretty successful Easter Eve so far I think.
Easter Eve dinner table at my mum's.
And the rest of our Easter Eve dinner today. My mum is from Iran so she likes to mix in a bit of Persian cooking here and there. So besides lamb steak we also had some Persian food on the table today. From the left in the photo above: eggs, root vegetable gratin, Persian veggie omelet, lamb steak, two sauces, salmon and rice from a Persian rice cooker.
We finished off this lovely meal with my mum's homemade orange cheese cake. :p
Now it is still a few hours left of Easter Eve here in Sweden, and I am sure I can find some more candy to enjoy the evening with. Hehe. By the way, I have written more about the origin of our Easter celebration and why we eat so much eggs during Easter in Sweden at --> Swedish Easter Eve Traditions.
Today we celebrate Fat Tuesday, also known as Fettisdagen in Swedish. This means that we eat a special pastry called Semla, or Lenten Bun, all across Sweden. Now a traditional Semla is made out of a cake of light wheat bread with a sweet filling of almond paste and cream and is very tasty. However instead of eating a traditional Semla this year I decided to try a different version where the bun was made out of Danish pastry dough and filled with a mixture of cream and almond paste, like in the photo below.
So this is how the non traditional Semla I ate this year looked.
This non traditional version was actually very tasty. The Danish pastry dough made the bun very light and fluffy and the cream and almond paste mixture was a great idea on how to change up the traditional simple filling. So all in all it was an excellent version of the Semla and I did indeed enjoy to eat it on this lovely Fat Tuesday.
To see what an original Semla looks like and to find out why we celebrate Fat Tuesday in Sweden feel free to check out my page --> Swedish Fat Tuesday Traditions
Today we celebrate Lucia here in Sweden. Which means that we eat saffron buns and listen to Lucia and her lovely entourage sing carols all across Sweden.
Which I did in front of the TV this year, I just did not feel like going in to town and watch Lucia outside in the wind and rain... Much more warm a cozy inside. :p
And while I listened to Lucia I stuffed myself with saffron buns and gingerbread. Yummy!! :p
Now originally our Lucia celebration is based on the saint Lucia, a holy virgin of the 200's who lived in Syracuse, Sicily. However her destiny to be killed for her Christian faith has nothing to do with our Swedish Lucia tradition. Actually our current Lucia tradition did not emerge until the late 1800s.
To read more about why we celebrate Lucia and why we eat saffron buns in Sweden check out my page - Lucia in Sweden. Where I also have a video of last years Lucia singing carols in Karlskrona.