Something Swedish

Carrying on Traditions


Part of being abroad, no matter where you are is holding onto your traditions. It wasn’t until last weekend that I realized how much I love St. Paddy’s Day, reflecting on what I would be doing and how I would be dressing if I were back home. How excited I get about it and all the memories through the years of celebrating it with family. It’s up there with Christmas, Thanksgiving (Which I will also have to reinvent in Sweden), and Easter. Things like traditions and holidays are different in different countries and while I have celebrated three Christmas’ and one (going on two) Easters, this was the most different.

Saint Paddy’s Day has always been one of those traditions that I cherish. Not for the pub crawls or the partying, but for the flood of green, the unique sound of bagpipes, strings of necklace shamrocks, and pinching those who weren’t in the spirit! Eating corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread with my dad. I’ve always been a sucker for soda bread. I get to brag about being half Irish and people who aren’t Irish pretend to be. Introducing my hubby to the hysteria of St. Paddy’s day in NYC last year is something I won’t forget. It was the first time I’ve been to the parade, even if I am dressed for the occasion every year with green from head to toe.

This year there was no parade (For us. There is one in Stockholm I believe). When we went to the stores to buy our drinks and food I didn’t notice anything special in the air or more green on the street. I didn’t even pack my green pants, whats a girl to do!? (or my green eye shadow, nail polish, hat, socks…) I still represented with whatever green I could find. We drank Irish whiskey and bought Irish beer. I made soda bread (For the first time ever) and I cooked the traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. Sort of. Corned beef isn’t so easy to find in Sweden, but my wonderful husband found the canned substitute that tasted close enough if you ignored the texture. It all came together and we celebrated the best we could.

Lets compare.

Some photos from last year:

This year:

Mostly I wanted to show off my soda bread.

I went from always Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to Creating it. I’m pretty happy with that, it will get better each year!

Happy Spring!!


19 thoughts on “Carrying on Traditions

  1. That soda bread looks delicious! Is there any way you could send me the recipe for it? I would love to make some!

    Creating Thanksgiving here is such fun, I’ve done it twice now, and the second time I made it for my Swede’s family and they absolutely loved it. It’s amazing how what is so normal to eat on Thanksgiving as an American is considered such delicacy here! They were oo-ing and ah-ing with my sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie! Haha. It’s the one holiday I’ve really felt that I’ve created (as you’ve said) here in Sweden!

    • Hey Jess! I used this recipe for this loaf When I get a new recipe from my family I’ll write it down for you! Since we don’t have buttermilk in Sweden you just have to add approx 15 ml to every 2 DL of milk, mix and let sit foor 5-10 minutes before adding to the rest of the mix. Sorry the conversions aren’t in Metric, I haven’t had time to change it for ya. Good luck! And watch that you don’t burn the top! (I did a little) I am sososo looking forward to creating Thanksgiving- you’ll have to give me any tips you’ve pick up about recreating some of the dishes here!

  2. I guess the good thing for me is that my family is from Minnesota (aka Little Sweden) so many of our traditions are sort of Swedish-esque. I could probably handle it just fine there. But I do get what you are saying. I tend to get really sad around holiday time because I miss people and traditions. My grandma is of Irish descent and likes to call me every year to remind me to wear my green. She doesn’t get skype, so she didn’t call me this year. That made me sad.

    • You know for a reasonable annual fee you can buy a telephone number to use for your skype account with any area code so it is as if your family is making a regular phone call! (Of course you need minutes on your skype as well, but its only 2c per minute) Best thing ever – if it weren’t for those features I would never speak to my family!

  3. Nostalgic blog, Meg and very sweet! AND your Irish soda bread looks real yummy!!!

  4. The hardest one for me is 4th of July as people are not as keen to be introduced to the holiday like they are for Thanksgiving. I sometimes just pretend Midsummer is for the 4th but it just is not the same.

    • I can imagine that the 4th is a bit harder to transfer over. I’ve never really done anything special on the fourth though, aside from a barbeque. I’ll be in the states in July though, so I’ll think of you when I’m there! 🙂 I love midsummer so much, I think its more festive!

      • I guess it always depends on where you come from, my hometown has one of the largest 4th of July parades in the western US so the whole town really goes all out!

  5. I was never big on St. Paddy’s Day but Thanksgiving…yes! We need to infect Sweden with Thanksgiving Day. If any country has much to be thankful for it is Sweden. I guess we could celebrate it by being thankful that we are in Sweden and take it from there!

    • I’m plenty thankful- I’m more worried about the traditional Thanksgiving food!! I plan on trying to recreate it a bit, although I don’t think we’ll be able to find a whole turkey :/ Will think about it when the time comes, I’m excited for that one!! My Husband has never experienced Thanksgiving so I will have to create it for him!

  6. Love the top pic, very pretty.

  7. It is sooo hard to continue traditions that are important to you, but aren’t necessarily celebrated with as much enthusiasm in Sweden. BUt, cheers to you for creating your own celebration! My wife & I do the same… for Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day… It’s a cool new perspective & now I have reasons to celebrate pretty much every month – be it an american tradition or a swedish tradition. 🙂

  8. We always try to celebrate all traditions from both Australia and Sweden. Makes for a fun year as usually something is happening! Loved the soda bread, looks tasty!

  9. That soda bread looks fantastic! It’s cool that you were able to “create” your own St. Patrick’s Day celebration. After all, (for me at least) St. Paddy’s Day is all about the company you spend it with!

  10. Pingback: Lately & Two Swedish Words That Explain Why I’ve Been Missing | Something Swedish

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