They may not be Swedish, but Swedes love tacos as much as Brits love curry. On Friday night they form the centrepoint of a one-day-a-week ‘hygge’ fest: ‘fredagsmys’…
Think Swedish food and you probably think gravlax, meatballs, cinnamon buns, pickled herrings… You’re probably not thinking of tacos. But for millions of Swedes, Friday night means just that. You come home from work, change into some comfy clothes, put on some music and wait for them to be cook. It’s a weekly tradition that’s become known as fredagsmys (literally ‘cosy Friday’).
Fredagsmys actually has its origins in a marketing campaign for crisps. OLW used the slogan Nu är det freeedagsmyyys… (‘Now it’s cosy Friday time…’) back in the nineties. Without hygge or koselig, Swedes jumped on an opportunity to put a label to their (just as enthusiastic) candle lighting and jumper wearing.
Now it’s deeply rooted in the Swedish weekly routine and, depending on your situation, takes many forms. For a family it’s about everyone cooking together. For a couple it might be one person’s treat to have the dinner cooked for them. And it doesn’t necessarily have to involve tacos. Finger food, however, is obligatory and takeaways are always banned. Basically, as long as there isn’t a big pile of dirty pots and pans, you’ve suceeded.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be about tacos. Finger food, however, is obligatory and takeaways are banned. Basically, as long as there isn’t a big pile of dirty pots and pans, you’ve succeded.”
But deviation from tacos is pointless. Tacos work whatever the season. In winter, they warm you up. In summer you can cook fillings on the barbeque and eat them outside. And tacos are still great the next day. Taco pies and taco pizzas make regular appearances on Sweden’s weekend tables and village shops even sell family leftovers the next day.
The food is but one part of fredagsmys though. Television also plays a major role. Often it’s a film: Westerns and Star Wars are the most popular; sometimes it’s a programme on telly. Saga Norén is, sadly, never invited (‘Nordic Noir’ is for Sunday night, so you’re in the right mood going back to work) but Midsomer Murders is actively encouraged, as is catch-up of the week’s Skavlan episode.
Its origins may not be so glamourous, but fredagsmys is loved by Swedes just as much as hygge’s loved by Danes. It’s not the same as hygge: that’s an all week thing. But, as any Swede will tell you, saving all your cosiness for one night only works much better.
So while I know it’s cruel to post this on a Monday morning, that doesn’t mean you can’t get planning already. With about another eighty hours until the weekend, I’d rush out and buy the tacos now. Oh, and that DVD you’re going to watch…