Five 'Swemojis' that will help you understand Sweden

The Local Sweden
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Five 'Swemojis' that will help you understand Sweden
Fika in emoji form. Photo:

Having a tough time getting your head around Sweden? Fortunately it's now possible to get to know the Nordic nation through emojis – or 'Swemojis', to be specific. Sarah Falck from online language portal has picked out five that will give you a great all-round grasp of Swedish culture and its mysterious ways.


Did you know that Sweden has its very own set of emojis called Swemojis, created as a tribute to Swedish culture and heritage? While the meaning of these emojis is probably crystal clear to a Swede, the average foreigner might have a hard time interpreting some of these icons. That's why I'm here to help! Let's have a look at five strange Swemojis and their meanings, shall we?

1. Fika

We know most of you are familiar with Swedish fika – and are perhaps beginning to tire of all the talk about this supposedly holy institution – but we could not write a list like this without mentioning the fika Swemoji. On the off chance that you have never heard about fika before, you're probably thinking, 'whoah, this must be something really special'.

READ ALSO: Here's what happened when this Swede introduced fika at her London office

Well... it's basically coffee and some kind of sweet pastry, cake or cookie. What? Your mind isn't blown? Oh, my friend, you're just not Swedish enough (yet!).


2. Midsommar

It's a beautiful summer's day and you're walking through town. Suddenly, you hear a noise. You're not sure what it is, but you decide to go and find out. As you approach the source of the noise, you realize it's actually coming from humans– and it seems like they are singing. You go even closer. You see a big pole dressed in green, and the people are dancing around said pole. They are wearing flowers in their hair, and they seem to be in a trance-like state. Some are even doing a strange dance while making frog sounds. You realize this must be some kind of weird Swedish hippie cult. You slowly step back and run away.

No, no, no! You just missed out on the most traditional Swedish party of them all – Midsommar. Celebrated around the summer solstice, more specifically the Friday between the 19th and 25th of June, this is the day to go crazy in Sweden. Many Swedes even strategically choose Midsommar as the starting point of their summer vacation so that they have several weeks of rest after this grand occasion of drinking, eating and dancing around the maypole, the symbol of Midsummer (and this emoji).


3. Kräftskiva

Forget about Christmas – late summer is the most wonderful time of the year in Sweden. August and September (even late July if you're particularly eager) is the time for the traditional Swedish kräftskiva aka. crayfish party, aka another excuse to drink because Midsummer was already a long time ago now.

READ ALSO: How to survive a Swedish crayfish party

What does a kräftskiva consist of, you ask? It's simple: all you need is a mountain of crayfish, some seriously strong alcohol and your best singing voice. Because you can't just drink during a crayfish party. No, no. You have to sing first. But no need to improvise – there are standard drinking songs called snapsvisor.

READ ALSO: Eight zaniest Swedish drinking song lyrics

These are short, bright and humorous songs, often about how delicious the snaps is and how much you are craving it. If you're still confused, just smile and hum. You're only a few shots away from being fluent in Swedish anyway.


4. Dansbandsmusik

Sweden is known for producing a lot of amazing music: ABBA, The Cardigans, Zara Larsson… all great and popular around the world.

And then there is dansbandsmusik – dance band music. If you think this means house or techno or whatever you usually like to dance to at the club… well, that's not it. The bands from this genre have not met the same international success as others. There is a reason why: only Swedes can get into this music. Well, mostly middle-aged Swedes. The songs are light-hearted and usually about cheesy topics/have cheesy lyrics such as "smiling golden brown eyes", "don't say no, say maybe maybe maybe" and "the last sweet years" (actual song names).

READ ALSO: Swedish dance bands, a musical mystery wrapped in spandex

The bands are often named after the lead singer and some make it extra catchy by replacing the letter 's' with a 'z' (I mean, Larz Kristerz just looks so much more hip than Lars Kristers). The band members also wear matching outfits.

These album covers say it all. But hey, if you're into this, who am I to judge? We all have our guilty pleasures. I'm a sucker for The Great British Bake Off and I like to sing Disney songs when I'm alone.


5. Kebab pizza

Meatballs are so 1700. The modern Swede is experimental and exotic when it comes to food. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the kebab pizza.

READ ALSO: Could Sweden make New Year's Day kebab pizza day?

This is the most popular pizza in the whole country. And don't say it's not Swedish cuisine – it was invented in Malmö! If you're feeling extra Scandinavian, you can upgrade to the Viking kebab pizza, which is a folded kebab pizza that is supposed to resemble a Viking ship. It doesn't get much more Swedish than that (unless you go one step further and try the 'Calskroven'). This baby will cure your post Midsummer/crayfish party hangover right away.


If you feel like you need these Swemojis in your life – and I know you do – you can download all 87 of them in the App Store here.

This article was written by Sara Falck, who works for the online language portal


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