Today is a ‘squeeze day’ in Sweden. What, you may wonder, is a squeeze day?
– It is not a day when everybody goes around hugging each other.
– Nor is it a day when people pinch each other’s cheeks or rear ends.
– It is not either a day of drinking copious amounts of fresh citrus juice.
No, a ‘squeeze day’, or ‘klämdag’ in Swedish, is a day of the week that falls between a public holiday and a weekend.
In Sweden, when a public holiday occurs on a Tuesday or a Thursday, a common custom is to take the day between the holiday and the weekend as a day off. Sometimes this is subsidized by the employer. In English, this is called a ‘bridge day’ but in Swedish it’s cutely referred to as a ‘squeeze day’.
In Sweden, there are 11 public holidays (known as ‘red days’) and there are masses of squeeze days this year. New Year’s Day was a Tuesday this year. Yesterday, Thursday, was Ascension Day (which is always on a Thursday) and so today is often taken as a holiday. This year, there are many floating ‘squeeze days’. Next week, National Day on the 6th of June, falls on a Thursday, so the following Friday is also a day off for many. Coming up, this year Christmas Eve is a Tuesday, Boxing Day is a Thursday, and even New Year’s Eve is a Tuesday.
So, Swedes this year are having a lot of time off work. Add to this, the Swedish concept of the de facto holiday – the day before a bank holiday is taken off, either as a full day or a half day. Most employers recognise and allow for this.
It’s a good job that Swedes are so efficient when they do work – otherwise the country would grind to a halt!