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I need some info from those who have been or live in Sweden

I need some info from those who have been or live in Sweden

Sep 30th, 2002, 05:29 PM
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I need some info from those who have been or live in Sweden

I'm doing a school project and i chose Sweden as my country. I need some info on the types of clothes the "locals" wear in the summer. I also need to know what types of homes they have . Like the kinds that are most common. I think Log houses are common but i'm not sure. I also need to know why the houses they have are practical weather wise or what sources are around them, that sort of stuff. I need to know what kind of environmental problems there are,if there are any. Lastly, I need to know what styles are worn not just in specific seasons and what kind of things they do ( occupations ).
I would appreciate any help.

Thank You, Sarah
Oct 8th, 2002, 01:20 PM
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Noticed you hadn't gotten any responses yet, so I'll try to help. I was born in Finland and lived there until my early 20's, then moved to the U.S. in 1979. Have been back about 6-7 times, also to Sweden many times, so I'll do my best to help.

The clothes worn in the summer are very much like what you'd see here. Shorts, T-shirts and a lot of sundresses and skirts. Guys wear shorts and jeans with T-shirts or shortsleeved shirts. Older people wear slightly dressier things, maybe sweater sets for women, longsleeved shirts for men.

Of course at some summer festivals and other national celebrations, you may see the traditional national costume worn (blue and yellow for women, the same colors for men, I believe).

As far as homes goes, it all depends on where you live, in the city or in the country. In the city it can be an apartment, a condominium or even single-family houses. In the country, many of the homes are single-family homes, often painted red with white trim. Even larger farmhouses, again mostly painte red and white.

You do see some log homes, but maybe not as commonly as you may think. You should be able to find photos by checking web sites for Sweden. I think if you just type in Sweden, you'll find some info.

All the homes have either double, triple, or even four layers of glass in their windows. This helps to keep the heat out in the summer, and the cold out in the winter. The walls have a lot of insulation, also the ceilings and floors do. The houses are always built on a very thick concrete foundation, that extends deep (several feet) into the ground. That is because the ground freezes in the winter.

As far as environmental problems goes, I only know that pollution of the air and water (lakes and rivers) has become much more common in the last 20 years. It is still very clean there compared to New York and Los Angeles for example, but it is a concern for the population.

Occupations are the same as anywhere else, from teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, to farmers, fishermen, and secretaries. Sweden is a very modern and civilized country, considered one of the wealthiest in the world.

If you need any more specific answers, feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck with your project!

Oct 16th, 2002, 05:53 PM
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Dear Benita

Thank you for replying. It was VERY helpful. I hadn't checked it in a while.
I'm still looking for information on customs. I know the custom of Lucia Day when a girl dresses up though.
Thanks again!
Oct 17th, 2002, 04:14 PM
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Hi Sarah,

I was wondering if you'd gotten my message and if it was helpful to you. I'm so glad it was!

You didn't specify if you only needed info on customs around the holidays, but I assume you meant customs any time of the year. So I'll try to remember them in the order they appear through the year, beginning with January.

The Christmas season is officially over on January 13th, that's the day of Knut. Let me explain that each day of the year has a names day, in other words Susanna may have her names day on June 15th, Barbro on March 22nd, and Markus on July 7th. That alone is a fun custom and people always know when their names day is. On some days there may be several names that are similar, for example Axel, Alexa, Alexander, would probably be on the same day.

Anyway, no later than January 13th people get rid of their Christmas trees and other X-mas decorations. I don't remember anything special about February, but Easter always falls on the same day as in the U.S., which of course sometimes is at the end of March, sometimes not until mid-April. What we call "Good Friday" is in Sweden called "Long Friday", because that's the day Jesus suffered on the cross. By the way, most Swedes are Lutherans, although there are some Baptists, Mormons, and other religions, too.

On Saturday before Easter Sunday, children dress up, paint their faces, and go around from house to house handing out small pictures with Easter themes (bunnies, eggs, witches etc.) and then the people give the kids candy, cookies, and other treats, kind of like on Halloween. I don't know how common this tradition still is, but we loved doing it when I was a kid (I'm 46).

Easter Sunday is celebrated very much like here. People go to church, cook a big meal (mostly ham) and spend time with their families. The day after is also a holiday, the second Easter Day.

To be continued...
Oct 17th, 2002, 04:17 PM
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Hi Sarah,

My story was too long, so I had to break it up in sections. So here we go again...

Mother's Day is also celebrated on the same day as in the U.S. (in May) and is very much the same as ours, with Mother's Day cards, flowers, dinners etc.

Schools are usually out by the end of May. That is also when graduations occur.

In June there is a big celebration called Midsummer. I believe it's the third weekend in June, which is when the days are the longest and summer is at its best. People decorate the front of their homes with birch (a tree) branches, build bonfires, and generally stay up late dancing, drinking, and celebrating. Many people have just started their summer vacations, so they're in a festive mood. Many go out to their summer cabins, do boating, fishing, swimming and just enjoy the sun. People also build and erect May-poles, tall poles decorated with flowers, which they then dance around.

Since the winter is so long, dark and cold in Scandinavia, people love the summer and take full advantage of the warm, sunny days. From about June 20th until July 20th the sun never really sets, some nights you can read in the middle of the night with no lights on. Therefore Finland, and often Sweden, is called the "Land of The Midnigt Sun". The further north you go, the lighter it gets. Of course in the winter it's the opposite, the furhter north you go the darker it gets. In Lapland (the northernmost part of Scandinavia) the sun never rises above the horizon for about three months in mid-winter.

Schools start up again mid-August or by the end of August, depending on the school district.

To be continued...
Oct 17th, 2002, 04:18 PM
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More info...

People usually don't decorate their homes for Christmas until very close to the day. Often they don't even get their Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, the 24th. Santa always comes on Christmas Eve (none of this sneaking down through the chimney)! He often comes in person and brings presents. Stockings by the chimney usually aren't used.

A traditional X-mas Eve dinner is "lutefisk", a cod fish meal, which smells horrible and many people don't like, but I sure do. Also, there's often rice pudding with one whole, raw almond hidden in it. The person who gets it, will have good luck all year.

People often go to church very early Christmas morning (6 a.m.) When I was a child we would ride a horse-drawn sleigh to church, but I don't think you see that much anymore, except perhaps in the country.

Christmas Day is usually spent at home with the family, enjoying your gifts, and children playing with their new toys. Ham is most often served as the main meal, accompanied by many different casseroles, potatoes, and many desserts, pastries and cookies. Women have usually started their baking several weeks before.

December 26th is the second Christmas Day, which falls on the day of Staffan. That's when it's OK to go out and visit neighbors, friends and relatives.

On New Year's Eve there's usually fireworks, like we do on Fourth of July. People also melt some tin pieces shaped like horse shoes, over an open flame, then dump it into cold water. Then you pick up the clump and try to make out a shape. You're supposed to be able to tell the future, or the coming year, from the shape of the tin. Believe it or not, but the year before I moved to the U.S. my tin was shaped like the Statue of Liberty. Funny, huh!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but if I remember something else I'll just go ahead and write you again. So keep checking once in a while. When is your project due at school?

Which grade are you in, Sarah? I have a daughter who's almost 17 and a stepson who's almost 18. They're both seniors this year and will be heading off to college in a year.

Take care!

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