The Swedes have a wonderful tradition, after a working week they are spending Friday evenings on their sofa in the living room, watching TV, drinking wine and enjoying taco, pick’n’mix and snacks. They call it ‘fredagsmys’. It’s cozy Friday in Sweden.
On cozy Fridays, families grab their fuzzy slippers, play games while the fireplace’s a-crackling and get warm-and-cuddly ideas for cooking, decorating, and more. However, pickled herring and meatballs are the global faces of Swedish cuisine, and the old generation in Sweden are still sticking to these delicacies, having ABBA music in the background. It’s as Swedish as IKEA.
After a busy working week, instead of staying late at the office, or going out for drinks with colleagues, the Swedes are heading home and put on their favorite sponge clothes
after a good cleaning session. This is perhaps not surprising given that for much of the year, hibernating is the Swedes’ best defense against the cold and dark nights.”
Back in the 1950s, Sunday was the day Swedish families reserved for festive dinners. In the 1960s, celebrations became less formal and were moved to Saturday. Fast-forward to today, and Friday has become the family high point of the week in Sweden.
Until the late 1980s, television in Sweden was a publicly-funded state monopoly. In 1987, the first Swedish satellite channel, TV3, began broadcasting from the United Kingdom, and the governmebt allowed commercial players into the market. With a bigger selection of shows to watch together, the family-viewing trend was improving and optimized for fredagsmys nights.
Nobody is sure exactly how or when fredagsmys was formally conceptualized, but grew immensely popular in the 1990s, as part of a marketing campaign for Swedish crisp brand OLW, but it grew into a popular movement in the 2000s. According to a recent survey by Swedish Tex-Mex brand Santa Maria, one-third of Swedes aged 15 to 70 take part in fredagsmys every week, whilst a massive 78% enjoy fredagsmys once a month. The term made its way into the Swedish dictionary in 2006.
Fredagsmys has become a deep-rooted ritual that affords Swedes a weekly treat, while upholding the country’s strong family values and obsession with work-life balance. Cozy Friday is the beginning of your weekend, you have a sense of freedom and you don’t have to think about the next day. It’s just a great start to the weekend.
Regardless of whether you’re embracing fredagsmys with family, friends or four-legged pals, the main principles are the same: spending time together with loved ones and relaxing while enjoying some easy-to-make food. By building this day into your week, it takes the pressure off coming up with an amazing or big way to mark the end the work week.
Related: Danish Happiness Explained
Today, the majority of Swedes choose a ‘cosy Friday’ above any other activity, including a gig, a cinema night, exercising and even sex.
There are similar concepts in Norway (fredagskos) and Denmark (fredagshygge), but personally I think the Swedes do it best.
Cozy Friday in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) © Pablo Merchan Montes / Unsplash