Living in a country with such distinct seasons, the subject of the weather is always up for discussion. In Sweden, there is a concept known as ‘aprilväder’ or April weather. This term describes the unpredictability and fickleness of the Nordic weather gods in the month of April.
Just in the few minutes I have been sitting here looking out of my window, the sun has been shining, it has snowed, the sun has shone again, it has clouded over and got windy and then snowed again. A week ago it was around 15 degrees celsius. Now it’s around 4.
April is often a frustrating month for Swedes.
Periods of sunny, warming weather tantalise the nation and lull them into a false sense of security. Once people have put away their winter coats and folded their thick jumpers up onto the top shelf, the snow hits again and ice forms on roads. Cars with their summer tires slip and slide along and people in their short, thin spring jackets freeze, get a cold and have to call sick in to work.
You’d think we’d be used to it by now. But no. It seems to be an annual phenomenon. Maybe it’s a reflection of that most human of emotions – hope. Every year we hope that the spring has finally arrived. And usually those hopes are dashed in a flurry of snow and a plummet of the themometer.
And as I sit here and look out, it has started snowing yet again. The warm weather seems very far away.
But hope lives on and I console myself that with every snowflake that falls, we are one snowflake closer to Spring!
Playing April Fool’s jokes on each other on the first of April is a tradition in many countries – Sweden included. In fact it is an old tradition – the oldest written reference being in 1392 in Chaucer’s ‘The Cantebury Tales’.
In Sweden, when someone is tricked, the tradition is to say ‘April, April din dumma sill!‘. This translates as ‘April, April you stupid herring!’. This is however not as weird as it might sound. In many countries, such as Italy, France and Holland, April 1st is known as “April fish”. On this day, people try to attach paper fish onto the backs of their victims.
April Fool’s pranks flourished this year in newspapers and in social media. Here are a couple of the main ones that tricked Sweden this year:
- Furniture giant IKEA is branching out into the airline business. Furnishing all the flights with Ikea furniture, the airline will offer low-cost flights to popular destinations. And the name of the airline? FLYKEA.
- Since military service is to be introduced again in Sweden, a high tech computer company will take over the castle in the town of Örebro. The thick walls and moat will make it inpenetrable for data hijacking.
- Theresa May needs help to fullfil the Brexit process and calls in British businessman Chris O’Neil, who is married to Sweden’s Princess Madeleine.
- Finnish-Swedish IT Company, Tieto, are opening a sauna next to their data service center. The sauna is heated from the excess heat from the data center and is a way to environmentally reuse the waste energy
- Airline SAS have introduced a selfie button next to the seek assistance button. In that way, passengers can photograph themselves without needing to take out their phones.
- Swedish supermarket chain ICA introduced a new product together with Marabou. The product is toothpaste with the taste of chocolate. It might be brown, but it makes your teeth white.