What is fat Tuesday and why do Swedes celebrate it?
I am not a religious person in the slightest although I am fascinated but theological ethics and cultural traditions that are born often from religion. Until 2000 Sweden’s official state religion was Lutheran Christianity. This is the reason for many of the traditional celebrations held in Sweden, despite most citizens now claiming to have no religion or atheist persuasions.
Fat Tuesday marks the beginning of Lent- a time when many christian fast or give up something in the lead up to Easter. In England this is usually called ‘pancake day’. The idea being that all fatty or indulgent products get eaten before the Lenten fast.
In Sweden, stead of making and eating pancakes they eat Semla. Semla are bready buns cut open and filled with an almond paste and whipped cream. They sold them at the university and I saw them in the local ICA. I was given mixed reports so I thought I better try one. They are quite heavy in texture and the almond paste tasted a little like marzipan. Some people love them and some hate them. I have to admit, I’m not 100% convinced- I think I’ll stick to pancakes next year!