A day late I know, but yesterdays post was such big news that I couldn’t delay! The start of February means saying goodbye to the bleak month of January. Days start getting longer, hopefully the weather starts getting warmer and the sun peaks out more, but for sure there are some holidays and observances: Valentines Day, Ash Wednesday, Leap Year falls on this year, making this February 29 days long. And then there are the American observances: Presidents Day, Black History Month, Groundhog Day (Today), Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, and Superball Sunday (This weekend)
Swedish holidays? Well, here we also observe “Fat Tuesday,” which falls on February 21st this year, but it is called “fetttisdag” and it is a day for Semlor. I know, I know- MORE pastries!? This time it is justified! This is a huge part of Swedish culture- I MUST eat Semla in February. Semlor, also called “fastlagsbulle” usually (and traditionally) start appearing in bakeries and tempting passer-byers around the middle of February, in time for the holiday. Even now that semlor has started to pop up in bakeries earlier and earlier over the past few years, the traditional Swedes will wait until fettisdag to eat their first Semla of the year. (Something to look forward to throughout the cold winter!) Also semlor is only supposed to be eaten on Tuesdays, as a general tradition, and ONLY on fetttrisdag if being very strict (And depriving yourself!)
Although eating Semla only on Tuesdays is not just a tradition- it is recommended for your health! As a food originally used to fill up ones belly before the 40 day fasting of Lent, semla has so much fat and sugar that eating more than one a week is considered dangerous by The Swedish National Food Administration! (Deemed dangerous after the Swedish King Adolf Fredrik died on frettisdag in 1771 due to a lavish meal followed by 14 servings of semla) Instead of it being “Fat tuesday” it should be fat february, because these treats are enjoyed all month. Being as semla disappear out of the bakeries by Easter day, Swedes enjoy as many as they can in that time, hopefully not 14 like the late king but millions of semla are sold each year and even more are homemade.
That is the Swedish February in a nutshell: noticing, craving, waiting, talking about, buying, and finally eating Semla.
In France today is Crêpe Day, which I wish I learned about earlier in the day or else I would have celebrated accordingly! Maybe tomorrow- always an excuse for Crêpes!
On a less interesting note – What did the first day of February mean for me, personally? It meant that I can do laundry again! Yep, our building only allows 10 laundry room uses a month and I received the bad news that I hit that limit over a week ago! (I missed/skipped two laundry room times I scheduled which still count against the 10) Doing laundry has been a good pass time for me and I hate when it builds up! So, I have been anxiously awaiting February for that reason.
Welcome to February! Let’s enjoy all 29 days of it this year!