Swedish word of the day: julvärd

the word julvärd on a black background by a Swedish flag
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Here's the next word in The Local's Christmas-themed word of the day series, running from December 1st to Christmas Eve.

Today’s word of the day is julvärd, an important word to know if you’ll be watching TV in Sweden on Christmas Eve this year.

Julvärd is made up of the words jul (Christmas) and värd (host). A julvärd refers to the person presenting the Christmas Day programming each year in Sweden. SVT’s julvärd changes each year, and julvärd announcements are major news, with the year’s choice regularly making headlines when it is revealed at the end of October live on SVT.

This year’s julvärd is Tareq Taylor, a chef, restaurant owner and TV presenter based in Malmö.

He is known in Sweden for TV programmes such as Trädgårdstider (a gardening and cooking programme roughly translated as “Garden times”) and Tareq Taylors matresa (“Tareq Taylor’s food journey”: a food and travel programme where he travels to the Middle East and his father’s childhood home of Jerusalem alongside his father and brother to explore the local food culture).

Outside of Sweden, Taylor is known for the English-language TV series Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery, where he travels around the Nordic countries introducing viewers to Nordic cuisine.

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The story of the julvärd dates back to early TV and radio history, where programmes were introduced by a hallåa – a word which translates as a “hello-er”, coming from the period in radio history where national programmes connected to local programmes with the greeting “hallå hallå” or “hello hello”.

Early television was not without issues – there could be technical problems with TV broadcasts, and longer films or television programmes often required multiple rolls of film, meaning that programmes often had at least one break during broadcast to change to the next roll. It could also take up to five minutes to switch between TV stations in different parts of the country.

This all meant that there were frequent breaks in television broadcasts which needed to be filled, which is why hallåor were so important. They provided entertainment and presented the upcoming programme in a time where TV trailers didn’t exist, ensuring that viewers didn’t get bored and turn off their televisions.

Although hallåor are unusual on Swedish television nowadays, the yearly julvärd is one example of continuing the tradition. The most famous julvärd through the years is Arne Weise, the late Swedish television personality who fronted the show for three decades.

You can watch this year’s julvärd on SVT 1 (in Swedish), starting at 3pm on Christmas Eve with the yearly showing of Donald Duck.

Example sentences:

SVT har precis avslöjat vem som kommer vara julvärd i år.

SVT has just revealed who will be Christmas host this year.

Julvärden firar jul tillsammans med hela svenska folket på julafton.

The Christmas host celebrates Christmas with everyone in Sweden on Christmas Eve.

Need a good Christmas gift idea?

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it – or join The Local as a member and get your copy for free.

It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.

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