Vernal Equinox (vårdagjämning) and Seasons in Swedish Posted by Transparent Language on Mar 21, 2009 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary
I’m really happy today. Springtime is here. Well, at least officially, because you wouldn’t know it from looking out the window. And while I’m not a fan of vår (spring) – too much rain and mud for my liking, I am a huge fan of vårdagjämning.
- vårdagjämning (def. vårdagjämningen) – den tidpunkt under våren då dagen och natten är lika långa – omkring den 21 mars.
Well, this year it was on March 20th, because every few years the sun likes to hurry up.
Personally, I prefer vårdagjämning (vernal equinox) to midsommar, because while midsommar might be the longest day of the year, it’s rather depressing when you think about it carefully – after midsommar the days are getting shorter – what’s there to celebrate?
And vårdagjämning is nothing but TRUE joy and happiness, as every SAD (vinterdepression, seasonal affective disorder) sufferer can tell you – the days are getting longer!
Soon the night will be banished altogether (at least up here in the North) and we can enjoy glorious daylight around the clock.
But ancient Vikings apparently did not share my sentiment, instead of vårdagjämning, they saved the really big bash for midsommar. For them, it was simply a matter of common sense.
When compared to other European countries, where spring comes earlier, or at the very least – on time, in Sweden vårdagjämning can still be bitterly cold. There’s still snow covering most of the country and, especially the further North you go, the length of the day is the only indication that the season has indeed changed.
But let’s talk about the word “season” for a second. While in English, “season” can signify the time of the year when it snows, or the time when guys in tight pants and helmets start throwing a ball around, or the time when the birds and the bees get together and make more birds and bees, it doesn’t work quite the same in Swedish. Here, you have a “season” and a “season” and even a “season.”
- årstid (def. årstiden, pl. årstider, def.pl. årstiderna) – de fyra årstiderna är vår, sommar, höst och vinter – these are the four seasons
- säsong (def. säsongen, pl. säsonger, def.pl. säsongerna) – tid på året som passar bäst för något eller då något speciellt händer – badsäsong, turistsäsong, skidsäsong – this would be the word to use when you want to talk about “skiing season” or “football season” or “tourist season.”
Let’s say, you are in the tropics, and it’s rainy season – you’d simply say “regntiden,” or when it’s dry – “torrtiden.”
Similar with the mating season – in Swedish it’s simply “tid” – “parningstid,” or “brunsttid” – useful words when you like to watch nature programs or have cats that are not spayed.
And that pretty much covers all the seasons in Swedish. Now, what can we do to make this alleged spring appear faster, hmmm?