When I rolled out of bed for the final time this morning at the crack of 11 AM, I knew that last evenings Swedish Crayfish Party at the home of Tall Dark and Swedish and his wife Short Blonde and Swedish was a rousing success. What is a Swedish Crayfish Party you ask? Well, I’m so glad you did! The short of it is that tradition holds that the Swedes really liked to eat crayfish and those little crustaceans where nearly fished out of existence in Sweden so to prevent the extermination of the little pinchers, a ban on fishing them was put in place, later to be lifted for all but a few weeks a year – about this time of year.
So, the Swedes started to celebrate with Crayfish Parties. Paper hats (with crayfish on them), party decorations (with crayfish on them), large platters of cooked-and-cold crayfish, Swedish Schnapps (this is NOT American schnapps…. do not make that mistake) that is flavored with anise, licorice and fennel and then the rest of the spread: boiled potatoes, salads, Swedish meatballs (sadly – not gluten free… I miss Swedish Meatballs) and a variety of other appetisers. In addition to all of this food (and alcohol) there are songs. Swedish drinking songs. The only one I’m half-way decent at singing in “Swed-lish” is:, “Helan går“. For the unedumacated – pronounce it “Hell-and-gore”; our friends nicely translated the song phonetically for us non-Swedish speakers for the first Swedish Crayfish Party that we attended.
For those who want to hear a non-drunken version, here you go:
For those who want to hear a “most of the song” version by people who ARE drinking (not me):
Personally, I love the last soundbite from that second clip, “I’m going to throw up.” Yeah, that’s what has run through my mind with every Crayfish Party, thankfully I’ve succeeded in not throwing up for them (other parties with the Swedes, I cannot make that claim for). The Swedes have assured me for years that the sign of a good party is when at least one person throws up and/or passes out; I try to avoid being that person. This year I was particularly careful, as much of the food for Crayfish Parties is laden with delicious gluten (like bread and Swedish Meatballs… you know, things to soak up alcohol), though Tall Dark and Swedish did make “Messy Cake”, a chocolate cake that was absolutely delicious, gluten free. And for that I thanked him. So, I went to the party with a game plan, my dominant right hand would always have a glass of water in it or at the ready and I’d use my non-dominant left hand for drinking adult beverages. Mission accomplished. Other than a bit of a headache this morning and being a bit sore from all the dancing to European Electronica and club music from the 80’s and 90’s (yeah… that happened) – I’d call the aftermath of a Swedish Crayfish Party a success.
I enjoy being an Honorary Swede, however there are a couple drawbacks, mostly it’s just the schnapps/snaps and the after effects thereof.
Do you have any traditions that fall outside of America’s big seven (News Years Eve/Day, Easter, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas)?
What is your favorite nontraditional Tradition?
P.S. I should have made sure to mention Jules at Go, Jules! Go! in this… I think she’d love a Swedish Crayfish Party.