How to give festive greetings the Swedish way 

I used to be very confused. Now I’m only a bit confused. 

You see, in British English we give festive greetings by saying Merry Christmas and that lasts until the end of December until we say Happy New Year. That’s it. 

In Swedish, it’s a bit different. And it’s not totally clear. 

Leading up to Christmas, Swedes say ‘God Jul’, Merry Christmas. This lasts until around Christmas Day. 

Then it at some point changes into the greeting of ‘God Fortsättning’ which literally means Good Continuation. 

This keeps continuing until at some time between the 28th and 31st Dec, it becomes ‘Gott Slut’. This doesn’t mean Good Slut but Good End. 

This lasts to the end of December and then from 1st Jan it becomes Happy New Year – ‘Gott Nytt År’. And then from the 2nd Jan, it becomes ‘God Fortsättning’ – Good Continuation– for a while, I actually haven’t worked out for how long. 

Not as straightforward as in English maybe. However, Swedish etiquette expert Magdalena Ribbing provides us with a way out of potential embarrassment. According to her, it is not so important what one says. What’s more important is that one actually greets another person. 

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