Something Swedish


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Street Theater Festival: “Gatuteaterfestivalen”

Performers and sideshow acts flooded the streets of Halmstad as they entertained us by telling unique stories with magic tricks, illusions, crude jokes, fire juggling, sword swallowing, cultural dancing, claustrophobic acrobatics, music, improvisation, and flipping off of trampolines. The Gatuteaterfestivalen is the only street theater organized in Sweden. Every year for the past 15 years over a dozen performances from around the world- Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Belgium and more, come to Halmstad to entertain.

Many of the acts are fun and light-hearted, while others have a more serious tone and convey meaning and emotion. Some are heavily influenced by culture, while a few were inspired by silent films. Most performances take place outdoors, while a couple have limited seats in small places like moving containers and trucks.

Joel Salom To say that this act from Australia is a juggling act would be an understatement. An hour filled with huge personality, hysterical improve, amazing and unique juggling, singing, cool musical effects, an “accidental” strip tease, and a robotic dog named Erik.

CampingTeatret A Danish Traveling Circus

Tony Rooke – Once we climbed into the small container and were immersed in total darkness, stories unraveled before us in a small light box. With only his hands, magic, illusions, and story telling skills, this performer from Australia creates a magical atmosphere where you forget the man behind the curtain.

Karolin Kent – Hailing from Sweden, this dancer incorporates yoga, martial arts, photography, improvisation, and theater into her performance. Wearing nothing aside from the burden of a humongous and heavy skirt dragging behind her, she makes her way to her stage. Perched atop of a pedestal 4 meters tall, she tries to talk but has no voice – only gurgling sounds. The theme of this beautiful and striking performance is the oppression of women in societies and cultures around the world.

Cirque Inextremiste – From France, an extreme and dangerous juggling, balancing, jumping, and climbing act that keeps the audience on their toes. High on a trampoline with fire, propane tanks, and a gigantic ball, you don’t want to blink and miss a beat. Very funny and interactive with the audience, be careful you don’t get your hat lit on fire!


Cie Circ`ombelico – “Da/Fort” is an amazing show from Belgium worth piling into the back of a warm truck with 40 other people to experience. Silently the performers fill the small “room” with intense emotions of everyday life and relationships through body language, facial expressions, and a lot of acrobatic physicality. You never know if they are coming or going, leaving or staying, falling or rising. No photography allowed, but they stick around to chat afterwards and serve drinks.


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The Magic of Midsummer

The summer solstice is a pagan holiday when the sun rises the earliest and sets the latest which was said to be the most powerful day of the year, when magical elements are strongest. In Sweden the summer solstice is called Midsummer, once celebrated by sacrificing for fertility.

 Nowadays it is celebrated differently, but traditions and symbols are still recognized. Midsommar traditions in Sweden are so beloved and important that the day was debated to become the country’s Nationaldag, and to many people it is.

Until 1953 Midsommarafton (Mid summer eve – Most Swedish holidays are celebrated on the eve, instead of the day) was always celebrated on June 23rd. Now it is always observed on the Friday that falls between June 19th and the 26th, giving Swedes a three day weekend to properly enjoy the longest day of the year.

You can’t have a Swedish midsommar with out the maypole, “midsommarstång” (Midsummers pole). The central part to midsommar is decorating, rising, and dancing around the maypole to traditional music and traditional clothing.

One of the most popular maypole songs isSmå grodorna”  (The Little Frogs), where the dancers hop around the maypole.

“Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.”

“The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.”

Not only do maypoles get adorned with flowers and ribbon, but it is also common to decorate a crown as well. From wild flowers, string, and ribbon it is traditional to make and wear a “midsommarkrans.”

From 2010, when we celebrated mid summer in New York City

Flowers and greenary are an important part of Midsommar, once believed to hold the potency of magic on this day. Herbs are stronger, plants can bring good luck and health, and picking nine different sorts of wildflowers and placing them under your pillow would make you dream of your future spouse on this night.

Fresh Swedish strawberries are a top priority when celebrating Midsommar.

This year I picked berries for the first time ever, these small sweets are called “smultron,” and are a great addition to the strawberry desserts.

So very tiny, tasty, and fun to pick!

We had bowls of strawberries and smultron with mint and vanilla ice cream. We also had a strawberry and whipped cream cake, and a rhubarb and Strawberry pie!

Midsommar is also known for the new potatoes. Fresh from the ground, covered in dirt, and ready to be scrubbed –  new potatoes are one of the centerpieces of the midsommar meals. New potatoes paired with an assortment of pickled herring and boiled eggs followed by fresh strawberries is the way to go.

Aside from the food, the flowers, the magic, the maypole, the dancing, and the music, there are the games. Many friends and families play group games on midsommar as part of the festivities.

We played a classic Swedish game called “Kubb”

The real magic though, is in enjoying the 18 hours of daylight with great company.

Glad Midsommar!


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Some Fun in Sweden (Videos)


I saw this video a year or two ago and today I thought “What other fun and creative videos can I find in Sweden?”


Oh, such innovative Swedes. But, these were easy. Lets try something more fun – Swedish flash mobs?! Ja, tack!

“Thank you for paying your TV fee
and thank you to many many more
Thanks for contributing from the east to west, north to south
Thank you for paying your TV fee
Thanks for contributing from the east to west, north to south
Thank you for paying your TV fee
Thank You”


(Picks up after the first two minutes)

Many were connected with charities! (or paying your taxes?) Here are some others (The next three are my favorites): Continue reading


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Halmstad Gillet

Last week was the “Halmstad Gillet 2012” which was filled with events and activities all around town. (Gillet means Guild or Feast) It was the first year for the event, which brought art, culture, music, and crafts together. There were plays, singing, and dancing near the library one day, a flea market in “Lilla torg” another day, there were tents filled with hand crafted goods in Norre Park over the weekend. All of the performances were done by high school (Gymnasium) students. There was a lot of different art work on display. Sit in the workshop tent and learn how to craft different things with all sorts of materials. You could paint your own Raku (Japanese tea cup), which would be burned for you to bring home. Or just sit back and enjoy a picnic on the lawn while listening to the music. One of the days all the local stores were welcome to bring items outside and sell infront of their shops, most with discounts. There were games, activities, and balloon animals for children. And best of all, sweet food to eat: Waffles, grilled meat, donuts, candy, roasted nuts, and more.

It was a nice change of pace, to have something different to look at each day. We shopped at the fleamarket and I spent a lot of time browsing the handcrafted area. The only things we bought were roasted almonds and a donut each, resisting the urge to spend lots of money on earrings or iron candle sticks. There were metal smiths, jewelry makers, clothing, hand blown glass, wooden house decorations, and much more. Its always interesting and inspiring to see what people can create. It all made me start looking into crafting classes, which would be fun. Mostly it was refreshing to see so many people enjoying the festivities.

If people reviewed the Gillet positively then it will be an annual event, I for one think it is a nice mid-spring addition! Its always nice to have something new to do! (Especially if the weather is nice, which thankfully it was) Being a smaller sized town, i think events like these are perfect. The only thing is since it is spread out over 6 days in five different parts of the town, it didn’t seem as exciting as if it were only a one or two day event to look forward to and not want to miss.


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When the Cat’s Away, the Mice will Play – “När Katten är Borta Dansar Råttorna på Bordet”

Min Katt, hon heter Delilah

Hmm, not really, but tonight is the first night by myself in Sweden. The hubby has to travel for work sometimes and so here I am while he is in Denmark until tomorrow. I wish the title of this post could be a little more accurate, but I guess we don’t actually have the roles of cat and mouse so it wouldn’t work regardless, I just really wanted to use it as a title and show a photo of my cat.

For anyone who knows some amount of Swedish will recognize that the Swedish title isn’t an exact translation of the English one.  Instead of translating word for word, which would be, “När katten är borta, möss spela” (When the cat is away, mice play). Swedish has a corresponding idiom as English which has the same meaning but is said differently, the text in the title translates to: “When the cat is away dancing rats are on the table.”

It is almost 8pm here (20:00- I don’t think I’ll get used to saying time this way) and the most “playing” I’ve done was to take a lovely two hour “tupplur,” which means “nap.” I learned that word yesterday- from twitter! And I certainly haven’t danced on any tables!! (I think I like being likened to a mice over a rat)

I suppose my version of “playing” will be staying up later than normal  to see if I can make some phone calls to some family and friends. With the six hour time difference it’s hard to get a hold of people who work until 5 or 6pm, since I am usually sleeping or at least off the computer at that point since hubby wakes up kind of early. The timing hasn’t been too hard to deal with though, it turns out that when I wake up early enough (7 – 8 am) a handful of friends are still awake in NY from that night before since its 1 or 2 am for them (Gotta love the night owls, the bar hoppers, the bar workers, and the insomniacs). And then there’s my Aunt who wakes up super early and is usually the first person I talk to once or twice a week around noon my time. Some friends and family don’t work or have traditional hours so I’ve been pretty lucky to get a few calls every once in awhile.

Technology is amazing, having Skype has allowed me to be in another country and not feel as alone. Sometimes its a 60 minute video chat and other times its a quick cigarette break phone call from a best friend. Skype is how we managed a long distance relationship for three years and its how I will keep in touch with friends and family now. Its cheap and easy and even allows me to buy a NY phone number so its affordable for everyone. I know I sound like a commercial, but that’s only because there are still people not taking advantage of it and it helps  me so much on a daily basis.

So, my other “playing” for today was actually pretty routine- shopping for the apartment. There are a few shops in town that I always go to because I love to buy little things to organize and decorate with. I shop carefully, knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees (Why, oh why!?), but it  IS my first apartment and I AM home a lot, so every once in awhile I’ll go to  AhlensLagerhaus, Clas Olson, or TGR to see if I can find something useful. Today felt like the colorful jackpot! Min nya kudde och tre nya korgar – “My new pillow and three new baskets”

Tomorrow I will force myself to study Swedish, I have been slacking; twiddling my thumbs while I wait for my “Personnummer” which will (Aside from making me a real person!) allow me to start SFI, Swedish for Immigrants, and start looking for work. I didn’t come here to wait, I came here to live and learn. And I will!

Reach for the moon, the worst that can happen is you fall short and catch a star.

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