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Friends, alcohol and hot tubs Posted by on Dec 30, 2009 in Culture, Swedish Language, Vocabulary

I hope you all had a great X-mas!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and people have been making plans for a long time, most of all young people. In Sweden people spend Christmas with their families, ie. the grandparents of the mother and then the father. It is also very common that families get divorced once if not more times in Sweden. This leaves a lot of people to visit, be polite to and give presents to during Christmas. Which is why New Year’s Eve is spent with friends of the family. Many feel that Christmastime is a time of obligations and preparation to make everything perfect. New Year’s doesn’t hold as many expectations so people are less stressed, especially when under the influence of alcohol.

A hot topic just before New Year’s Eve amongst teens (tonåringar) is which party you are going to during the evening, a drinking or a non-alcoholic party. Underage youths spread the word about which parties are having alcohol, then deceive their parents about their whereabouts and end up getting so drunk (full) that they can’t remember anything about the past night. New Year’s Eve is also the evening when the most accidents involving fireworks (fyrvärkerier) occur, in the north of Sweden the bone-breaking incidents increase drastically because of the ice. Being drunk won’t help anybody keep their balance when slipping, but that decision is for each and everyone to make for themselves.

A popular tradition up in the north (or any place with snow in Sweden) is to bathe in an outdoor hot tub (badtunna). If you check the translation for the Swedish word badtunna you will find the most exciting translation; a wilderness hot tub. This is not quite true since people in cities have them as well and as long as you don’t count the city to be a wilderness then this translation is not quite correct. People of all ages get to sit in the hot water surrounded by the rising steam. When everybody has gathered their courage they run out into the snow and roll around or run round their house outside naked!! (this is Sweden ^^). Children are usually brave enough to make snow angels (snö änglar) or have a snowball fight (snöbollskrig).

I hope you all (wherever in the world you might be celebrating)  have a really good New Year’s Eve!

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  1. solnos:

    «Underage youths spread the word about which parties are having alcohol, then deceive their parents about their whereabouts and end up getting so drunk (full) that they can’t remember anything about the past night.»

    If this is a tradition, to deceive the parents because they want to get drunk, the parents must know about this anyway…

    «fireworks (fyrvärkerier)»

    Is this a joke?

    «run round their house outside naked!! (this is Sweden ^^)»

    Hopefully … another joke!

  2. katja:

    I’m very sorry Solnos, The real word for fireworks is Fyrvärkerier, and people do run around naked. Maybe not everybody but there are people who do. This might be an incentive to visit the north of Sweden?

    I’m sure that many parents know about how the “getting drunk” thing works but forgot why anybody would do so…

    Are there any of these types of traditions in your country? If so please share them with us!

  3. Daniël:

    “The real word for fireworks is Fyrvärkerier”

    Fyrverkeri(er) is the correct spelling according to Wikipedia (http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyrverkeri). It think this is what Solnos was trying to say. 🙂

  4. katja:

    Sorry about the spelling, if that is what you meant Solnos, then your absolutely right! Have a great new year!

  5. Luke (Sydney):

    People do get naked in public here—on the beach of course—during Xmas&NY in Australia, but that’s mostly becuase it’s too hot—therefore the running around bit was dropped…lol

  6. katja:

    Well, It is understandable that people take their cloths off when it is really hot, though I find it quite puzzling that anybody would want to when it is -20°.

  7. badtunna:

    Att göra det mysigt och avkopplande i hemmet, är något som har kommit att bli allt viktigare för oss människor. Tänk att få komma hem till en uppvärmd badtunna som man bara kan lägga sig ner och koppla av i, antingen ensam eller med någon annan. Kanske kan man till och med öppna en flaska champagne och sedan bara njuta. För det är väl i alla fall vad som klassas för total avkoppling?

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