1. People are willing to freeze in order to dine outside
Cafes and restaurants with al fresco seating are as anxious as anyone for winter to end. So giddy, in fact, that they often set up tables and chairs when the mercury shows a hint of creeping above freezing.
More shocking perhaps is the fact that customers can’t pass up the chance to sit outside and sip a drink while shivering in an effort to will spring into existence.
Stockholm following a hint of sun. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
2. Påskmust and other Easter treats are virtually given away
Love it or hate it, påskmust is a Swedish favourite at Easter time, with supermarkets stocking shelves to the brim full of bottles of what in reality is just the same carbonated beverage sold at Christmas as julmust, but with different packaging.
One consequence of that is that once Easter is over, the same stores virtually give away the stuff, cutting prices to a crazy extent in an effort to get someone to take all the left over bottles of the sickly drink off their hands. The same goes for Easter eggs and paraphernalia, all longingly looking for a home.
They can’t give this stuff away after Easter. Photo: Martina Holmberg / TT
3. A never-ending flurry of spring news stories arrive
Journalists in Sweden are no exception to the general desperation for the winter to end, and it’s a certainty that a host of stories looking at spring from any possible angle will appear. See: “Long wait left for spring”, “Spring weather headed to Sweden” and “Early signs of spring detected in Skåne”. Admittedly, we’re guilty as charged. Half a year of cold weather takes its toll.
First dip of the year’ is a Swedish spring news classic. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
4. No one is talking about Melodifestivalen
Depending on your tastes in TV, the onset of spring may also provide blessed relief from a staple of water cooler talk in Sweden: debates over the country’s annual Eurovision qualifying competition. The discussions start around Christmas and drag on to the grand finale in March, but once the fat lady sings (or more often than not, skinny, young person sings), small talk moves on to other topics. A solid sign that spring is on the horizon.
It’s all behind us now, thankfully. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
5. Kids soak up the last remains of the snow
Kids are the best at showing us how fun winter can be, and at this time of the year the combination of longer days with the last remains of the snow mean you’re more likely to see them out after dinner attempting to make one last snow man. That said, if you live in Sweden’s furthest north then the spring isn’t likely to be the final death knell for the snow – sometimes not even the summer is.
READ ALSO: Northern Sweden just had snow in June
Easter in Skåne. We’re not kidding. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
6. The dreaded collective spring clean
Spring cleaning is a custom that exists well beyond Sweden’s borders, but in the Nordic nation there’s a unique twist on it thanks to city living in the country often being based around cooperatives who collectively own apartment blocks.
That in turn means collective cleaning of the building’s gardens and facilities, two times a year, which in spring produces the unwelcome task of brushing away piles of gravel laid in the winter to provide traction, as well as actually having to talk to your neighbours. On the plus side, there may be hotdogs.
The aforementioned dreaded gravel. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT