The holiday season is coming up. Although in the US, it starts a little early. Because the US celebrates holidays that don’t get celebrated in Sweden. Like Thanksgiving.
Because I am an American abroad, I try to recognize as many holidays as possible. Although, there is a difference between recognition and outright ignorance. And yes, I know, I am a pretentious asshole, but there are few things that bother me more than Americans asking if Swedes celebrate Thanksgiving.
No. They don’t. Sweden does not celebrate Thanksgiving. Think back to elementary school, Thanksgiving celebrated the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Pilgrims were religious separatists from England in the 1600s. It’s a simplified history but regardless, it gets the story across. Nowhere does Sweden come into the picture. They didn’t leave from Sweden. They didn’t go via Sweden. They weren’t Swedish. Sweden was busy with their own age of greatness and not really all that concerned with a small group of religious zealots trying to cross the Atlantic.
Strangely enough, they could still care less. The average Swede might be aware of Thanksgiving, but that is about it. They will not celebrate it. They will not have Thursday and Friday off from work. They will not eat themselves stupid on turkey and potatoes (although they probably should). That will be left to the American ex-pats in the country. They might even invite a few Swedes along for the ride. If there is a Thanksgiving celebration in Sweden, there is an American close by.
Instead, Swedes will go about their business, happily spending their paycheck from the 25th. Waiting for their holiday season to start. Sweden doesn’t really get started until the 13th of December when blonde girls dress up in white and walk around with live candles on their head. Of course, just in case there should be an accident, small boys walk behind her dressed in white robes with conical white hats on their heads while carrying star wands. December 13th is Santa Lucia. Duh.
Welcome to Sweden. And the holiday season.