And today Sweden celebrates……?



I was looking through a paper today and I read that today it is Transafton (‘afton’ means ‘Eve’ in Swedish) in Southern Sweden.

‘Wow’, I thought, ‘isn’t that great that they have a special Eve to celebrate transgender people in the South of Sweden. Very impressive

However, upon closer inspection, I realised my error – it didn’t say ‘transafton’.

It actually said ‘tranafton’.

After my bubble was burst, my curiosity became aroused.

Tranafton? What is that? After over 20 years of living in Sweden, I have never heard of Tranafton. I know that a  ‘tran’ in Swedish is the bird called ‘crane’ in English. But why a ‘Crane Eve’?

So I looked it up.

The 24th of March is known as Tranafton in Southern and mid Sweden and has been documented since the 1500’s.  . It was said that the crane returned on this day after its winter migration. This was seen as a sign of spring as it brought the light with it. Now it was so light outside that people did not need to light candles inside their houses. On Tranafton it was important to go to bed while it was still light, otherwise you might be subjected to tricks and name-calling.

On Tranafton, children ran outside barefoot – often three laps around the house. The supersition was that this would build up their immune system and make them strong and resilient. In the Swedish counties of Värmland and Dalsland, this was done dressed in bird costumes – a ritual known as ‘running crane’. In West Sweden, children hung stockings infront of the fire and the crane would come and fill them with gifts. This tradition has mostly died out today, but still exists in a handful of villages in Småland, Värmland and on Öland.

So if you are at a loss for what to do this evening – go out and run the crane to celebrate the arrival of the light. But remember, just to be safe, go to bed before it’s dark.



One thought on “And today Sweden celebrates……?

  1. I’m a swede and I didn’t know about this one but then I’m from the northern parts so we would look scornful at those southerners anyway for this.. 😆

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