15 Swedish words for getting married

With the UK, and probably the USA, in a Royal wedding frenzy at the moment, it made me think about Swedish words for getting married. In English, we have for example ‘tie the knot’, ‘take the leap’ and ‘get hitched’, so I did some research. And I found the following formal, and less formal expressions for getting wed.

  1. gifta sig – to get married
  2. ingå äktenskap – to enter into marriage
  3. äkta – to wed
  4. ingå giftermål – to enter into marriage
  5. Gå träda i brudstol – ‘step onto the bridal chair’ (tradition from the 1600’s)
  6. Ingå förmälning – enter into marriage
  7. Gå brud – ‘go bride’
  8. Vigas – get married
  9. Föra till altaret – lead to the alter
  10. Knyta hymens band – tie the wedding band
  11. Bygga hjonelag – ‘build a marriage’
  12. Slå sina påsar ihop – ‘join your bags’
  13. Förena sina öden – unite your destinies
  14. Gänga sig – get married
  15. Stadga sig – settle down

Interestingly, the most used word for married in Swedish is the same as the word for poison – ‘gift’!

Breakfasting under Brexit


Currently in the UK watching the Brits instead of the Swedes. At breakfast this morning I reflected over the Brexit referendum that takes place tomorrow, the day I make my exit back to Scandinavia. I can’t vote in this referendum, even though I’m British, because I’ve lived abroad for more than 15 years. I might not have the right to vote but I do have the right to my opinion. 

Many Brits are truly confused over this. It seems like the arguments are contradictory and vague. Both the remain side and the leave side are using propaganda scare tactics to clinch the vote. False information abounds, unrealistic statistics and outright lies are published in the newspapers. Celebrities are publicly coming out on both sides of the campaign. 

What this referendum seems to be about, for those wanting to leave,  is simply immigration. Fuelled by racist politicians and nationalistic media, the message is ‘make Britain great again’. There is a clear sense of victimisation amongst some people – poor Britain brought to its knees by the evil EU. (When in fact Britain is highly respected and has a powerful voice in the EU). Old conflicts bubble to the surface – Britain won two world wars and now they are cow towing to the Germans and Angela Merkel. And there is a constant fear of being under attack and overrun by refugees queuing up on the other side of the Channel. 

I get that people feel disenchanted with the EU and not in control of their own lives. In my mind that has to do with the policies of the UK and less to do with the EU. If you elect David Cameron as PM, you get his cost-cutting, welfare-slashing, begrudging cynical policies. 

There is no denying that the UK has serious problems. It saddens me to see that there are significant rifts in society, between the remains and the leaves, the Scots and the English, the rich and the poor, the working and the unemployed, the ethnic Brits and the immigrants. Britain is not embracing its changing identity and instead is feeling a strong sense of loss. And the insecurity and frustration this causes makes people look to the past to the halcyon days of the British empire, when ‘things were better’.  But this is an irretrievable illusion, a fantasy. We need to deal with the here and now, and Britain has a lot of healing to do. 

With Brexit, we can debate about economy, trade, freedom of movement, peace, immigration, taxation but the bottom line is a philosophical one. Do you want to live in a country that looks to the past, that isolates itself and looks inwards? Or do you want to live in a country that looks to the future, cooperates with others and looks outwards? For me it’s a no brainer. The EU has its flaws, but it’s better to be a part of it to be able to influence and improve it. 

If I could vote, I would proudly vote to REMAIN. 

Come dine with me, my place 7.30

ImageImage

As a Brit, I sometimes experience differences between myselves and Swedes. But this has never been more apparent than in the two TV cooking shows ‘Come Dine with Me’ in English and its equivalent Swedish program *Halv åtta hos mig’ (My place, 7.30).

Watching these two shows, many differences are obvious. The shows shine a very clear light on the differences between the UK and Sweden. The shows have the same format and are part of the same franchised concept, but cultural differences make them into two totally different programs.

The educationally entertaining Swedish program has the following:

  1. A focus on the food and the interesting recipes
  2. Polite, if somewhat stilted conversation, mostly about the food
  3. A female narrator that is slighty, but not too, sarcastic
  4. Participants who are friendly and polite and seem to have things in common with each other
  5. Participants ‘dressed up’ very nicely for the occasion
  6. Homes that are Nordically cool, clean and well-organized
  7. Carefully selected wine for the dinner, and not too much alcohol so that participants can focus on the food

The hysterical British version has the following:

  1. A focus on getting drunk and arguing with each other, the food is secondary
  2. Confrontational, loud conversation (as people are drunk) about all subjects under the sun, often toilets and sex and very little about the food
  3. A male narrator that is a complete bitch about the contestants and personally attacks the participants’ appearance
  4. Participants who have been cast for the show as they are complete opposites, very opinionated and at each others’ throats from the very first evening
  5. Participants often wearing themed fancy dress, such as prostitutes, Alice in Wonderland, disco, bling, pirates, gangsters. Often lots of short skirts and cleavage.
  6. Homes that are quirky at best, and unhygenic at worst
  7. Wine, wine, wine, vodka, gin, wine, wine, wine

Now what cultural conclusions can we draw about the Swedes and the Brits from these differences?

If you liked this blog, please share it!