A great tradition to be introduced to in Swedish culture is Kräftskiva. Some of you may very well be attending SUS’s Kräftfesten (a.k.a. Crayfish party) next week, but for those of you unfamiliar with the tradition, it is something you don’t want to miss.
I was introduced to my first Kräftfesten two years ago with some Finnish friends in Sweden. This crayfish party originated with the Swedes but has since moved to Finland. The celebration usually occurs in late summer in August or September because crayfish were harvested in Sweden late in the summer. But don’t worry, you won’t have to be harvesting crayfish, any grocery store in Sweden carries crayfish during August and September J
The Kräftfesten itself involves dishes full of crayfish along with a buffet-style of other Swedish cuisine. While I’m no vegetarian, staring down at those black, beady eyes of the crayfish gave me the chills the first time. All you have to think is, When in Rome….
The best part is of Kräftfesten is all of the extra crazy decorations included in this festivity that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Who knew crayfish decorations could be so popular once a year? Paper crowns, yellow and red lanterns, crayfish coloured table cloths, and the much needed bibs (no longer reserved just for babies) helps keep the crayfish in your mouth and off your clothes.
Through-out the party, traditional Swedish songs will be sung and snaps will be consumed. Don’t worry if you don’t know the songs. As long as I raised my glass at the end of the song, I could participate. With drink consumption being part of the tradition, I suggest taking a look at this “How to eat crayfish” video on how to eat crayfish before drinking your snaps.
So if you want to show off your knowledge of Swedish culture, attend a crayfish party. And whatever you do, always thank the host “tack för maten” for the wonderful food.