A young tradition in the gathering dark
Halloween has only been celebrated in Sweden over the past decade, and has rapidly become established here — not least as a result of smart commercial marketing. By the beginning of November, Sweden is enveloped in darkness and the long working weeks stretch away endlessly. Swedes only recently began celebrating Halloween.
Photo: Sören Andersson/Scanpix
There are no public holidays or extended weekends in the calendar between the summer holiday and All Saints’ Day. Halloween heralds the schools’ autumn break and represents a welcome diversion in the gathering dark. Dress parties and pumpkins
The occasion is mainly celebrated by children and teenagers. They go to fancy-dress parties and ghost parties, light lanterns and venture forth into the streets to scare the life out of the neighbourhood. Many pubs and restaurants stage Halloween parties and decorate their premises with fearsome attributes. Halloween has come to stay.
On the island of Öland in the southern Baltic, the arrival of Halloween has led to an upswing in pumpkin growing, and the giant fruits are now quite readily available.
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Po Tidholm is a freelance journalist and a critic with the Stockholm daily, Dagens Nyheter. Po Tidholm wrote the main sections about how we celebrate in Sweden today.
Agneta Lilja is a lecturer in ethnology at Södertörn University College, Stockholm. Agneta Lilja wrote the sections about the history of Swedish traditions and festivities.
The authors alone are responsible for the opinions expressed on this web page.
Translation: Stephen Croall/Lingon
Copyright: 2004 Agneta Lilja, Po Tidholm and the Swedish Institute. This text is published by the Swedish Institute on www.sweden.se.