Swedish Ways: Trettonhelgen

This is only about a week overdue as the day in question was last Thursday! Trettondagsafton and Trettondagen (last Friday), indeed all of Trettonhelgen (Thursday to Sunday), is what’s called Twelfth Night in English. I think it’s from when the three kings came to visit Jesus in the stables in Bethlehem, but most Swedes would likely just shrug at that and say “yeah, whatever”. We have several holidays based on religion, but as Sweden today is very secular, the days only mean “we don’t have to go to work/school today because it’s a red day in the calendar”.

It’s common for TV to show a musical farce during this weekend. It runs in the summer, at Fredriksdalsteatern, an open air theatre in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden, and is recorded for TV. When I was growing up, the star of these used to be Nils Poppe, but since he retired, comedienne Eva Rydberg has taken over. She’s definitely living up to the expectations he left!

Other than that, it’s really only a few days off from work. For those still in school, the Christmas break is generally not over until the week after this weekend – this week. Think it varies depending on where you are in the country though. Either way, a lot of school kids have the standard question of “what I did during my Christmas break” to look forward to …

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