Celebrating my first birthday in Sweden couldn’t have been better. First, I was happy to get phone calls, Skype calls, messages, and photos from friends and family back home. When you live abroad you get a little scared that your friends and family back home will forget you.
I was a bit nervous about my first birthday in a new country: What will it be like? What are the cultural differences?
Last weekend we celebrated my birthday with my husband’s family. They bought me a cake, gave me presents, and sung happy birthday to me:
The Swedish Birthday Song:
Ja, må hon leva, Ja, må hon leva, Ja, må hon leva uti hundrade år.
Ja, visst ska hon leva, Ja, visst ska hon leva, Ja, visst ska hon leva uti hundrade år.
“Ett fyraldigt leve… leve hon. HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH.”
Yes, may she live, Yes, may she live, Yes, may she live for a hundred years.
Oh sure, she will live, Oh sure, she will live, Oh sure, she will live for a hundred years.
“A four fold cheer … cheer for her. HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH.”
Listen to it here:
Some Common Swedish Birthday Customs
- Breakfast in bed- unfortunately this is usually only for children. The family comes into the room with breakfast (sometimes with cake) and sings for the birthday boy/girl.
- Some Swedes enjoy Smörgåstårta (Sandwich cake) on their birthdays. Read more about that in a previous post. Hubby bought me a shrimp sandwich this morning, which was close enough…this time.
- A popular birthday cake is Prinsesstårta (Princess Cake)- a sponge cake with lots of cream inside and a shell of marzipan. Read more about that in a previous post.
- Swedish flags are often used to decorate the birthday cake.
- Bring your own birthday cake to work to celebrate yourself with your workmates.
- Surprise parties are not common in Sweden, instead you plan your own festivities if you want.
Grattis på födelsedagen: Happy Birthday!