Something Swedish

Swedish Cake Culture


This week my husband came home with flowers and a cake for me because I took my SFI C test to move onto the next Swedish course and am very positive about it.

Having cake in Sweden is a very traditional was of celebrating, but it is a little different than I am used to. If I were truly Swedish, I would have bought my own cake.

Whenever someone has a birthday, achieves something, gets a promotion, graduates, etc.,  it is that person who buys or brings their own cake to celebrate. No need to worry about who will bring the cake,  it is always the person of honor. The upside is you can always buy your favorite type of cake for your own special occasion, instead of pretending to enjoy the flavor someone else picked out (Although, don’t we all buy princess tarta anyway?).

This tradition is very strange for me (And other expats I’ve met), as I wouldn’t ever think about buying my own cake in the U.S., but wait for some one else to do it.

If you are congratulating someone is  Swedish you would say “Grattis!,” but if you say “Gratis” instead you are saying Free.


21 thoughts on “Swedish Cake Culture

  1. Meg: Sounds like a very sweet husband you have there! Congratulations on your ‘positive’ Swedish course of study . . .

  2. I didn’t know it was the other way around in the U.S. the best thing with your birthday is that you can buy the cake you like the most, or bake it 🙂

  3. Grattis, Meghan. I am sure you aced it. I bet you finish D Kurs by Jul.

    • Dan, I reread your message a few times before understanding that you meant Jul as in Christmas, not Jul as in short for July!! I was a bit concerned and confused haha TACK!

  4. The cake looks delicious, good luck on your Swedish course!

  5. Congrats on the test! I just started my SFI class on Onsdag. How long have you been in the class? Love reading your blog!

    • Tack, cj! I’ve been in SFI since the last week in March, but had a two month break, so I’ve been studying for about 4 months now. I studied a little from Rosetta Stone before that for a month or two as well. Lycka till (Good luck) with SFI!

  6. I would say that bringing the cake or maybe some kaffebröd is the norm when it comes to work. At home you should expect to get pampered a bit.

  7. Congrats! The cake looks awesome!


  9. My wife and I have had a really hard time adjusting to this difference actually. I never think of doing the inviting to things I want to celebrate (like my birthday) and then, at the last minute, she aks me, “don’t you want to do something for your birthday? are you going to invite anyone for fika?” of course, i was waiting for her to bring it up so she could plan it for me. hehe. hopefully we are getting used to each others’ traditions now and will get it all straightened out this month (for my birthday again!).

    congrats on your SFI test!!

  10. Funny, I’ve never thought of it before but now that you bring it up it strikes me how odd we swedes are at times.. haha. Good luck on your test, I’m sure you did well!

  11. First of all I am very pro any country that has a “cake culture” 🙂
    Second of all that is funny! That would be very strange for me as an American too. I think for us it would feel like we’re being self-congratulatory and forcing other people to tell us how awesome we are.
    🙂 But I’m sure you did awesome on your exam so I’m sure you deserved it!

  12. It’s so nice and funny to read about how we, the Swedes, and our culture is seen from “outside”. I enjoy your blog very much!! Have fun in Sweden, stay “lagom” 🙂

  13. Well done for your SFI course! 🙂 I am really proud of you. Can you say ‘I cook’ without problems now? 😉

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