Living Swedish traditions: A crayfish party!

If I had to choose among the best parts of living abroad, I would definitely count in the list experiencing the traditions that native people have incorporated into their lives. So far Lucia, Midsummer and Walpurgis have brightened up my year, but there is one tradition that I like so much that I could barely wait to have it again! And that is the Crayfish Party.

Crayfish parties  are held each year close to August, due to a previous ban that only allowed the crustacean to be caught around this month. The celebration warrants a gathering where families and friends enjoy the delicacy rather noisily: it is a whole ritual, that of separating the crayfish into parts and sucking its juices from various cavities. The crayfish is usually accompanied by savory pies and bread, and schnapps which are present at every other Swedish festivity.

My first time in a crayfish party was last year, when the V-department international committee organized one as a way to integrate international and Swedish students. It was such a good experience that I waited for this year’s expectantly, but due to my schedule I couldn’t attend. This sparked the idea of organizing our own with a couple of friends.

In both times, I have ended up full and with a happy face. If I had to guess why celebrations around a medium-sized crustacean have become a hit, I’d say that it’s simple: the whole process of trying to eat crayfish is arduous, completely messy (the party involves wearing bibs!), at times a little violent, but the end result is very much worthy. Crayfish is delicious!


Part of the feast

Part of the feast

And now that I’ve crossed from my list organizing a crayfish party, I should soon face the challenge of surviving another Swedish tradition: eating Surströmming. Honestly, that one sounds a bit scary, but I do plan to try it someday. Is there any Swedish tradition that you look forward to participate in while you study in Sweden?