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Fika; isn't it a fuss about nothing?

EVERYONE drinks coffee & cake!

eardoctor
post 23.Mar.2013, 04:00 PM
Post #1
Joined: 15.Oct.2008

whenever people talk about life in Sweden, they nearly always tend to mention this singularly Swedish habit of "fika", where you and your friend(s) sit down in a cafe and drink coffee and cakes/cookies. But at any time of the day in Europe/USA/etc, aren't there thousands of cafes where people are sitting drinking coffee and eating sweetmeats? is it really such a big deal? next we'll be hearing of the Swedish custom of people going out in their car on a Saturday to buy groceries!
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johnjohn
post 23.Mar.2013, 05:30 PM
Post #2
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

Try outlawing fika at the work place and you will change your mind.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 23.Mar.2013, 06:05 PM
Post #3
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

Yes, the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock fika is mandatory at most work places smile.gif
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Investor612
post 23.Mar.2013, 07:38 PM
Post #4
Joined: 29.Jul.2009

Visiting Sweden it's hard not to notice how seriously Swedes take their coffee breaks.
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Svensksmith
post 23.Mar.2013, 10:10 PM
Post #5
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

It's kinda like going to the pub for Englishmen.

Only not near as much fun.
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Max Reaver
post 23.Mar.2013, 10:35 PM
Post #6
Joined: 26.May.2011

To the OP:

The Swedish invention here is the word "fika" itself. It can be used both as noun for the activity, and a verb as in "shall we go and fika?" In other languages you have to say "shall we go and have a coffee with some cakes so we can talk about other people's gossip and get to know each other?" Fika includes everything in one word, that's the invention of the language my friends.
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skogsbo
post 24.Mar.2013, 06:50 AM
Post #7
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

is it a bad thing if work places take time out of communal break?

I know in the UK many factories do have fika, but in many offices you are considered a better worker if you stuff a sandwich down your face a your desk, which would you prefer?
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RolandNilsson
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:06 AM
Post #8
Joined: 1.Mar.2013

I have had similar conversations with my Swedish girlfriend. She thinks "going for a coffee" in England simply doesn't capture the essence of fika, even though the activity is exactly the bloody same. Just because I ask someone for a coffee doesn't mean they are duty bound to have a cup of espresso. Hell, I might even have a pot of tea and a jam tart. But this doesn't satisfy the criteria and I will never understand because I just don't get it apparently.

And by the way, work break rules are the same anywhere in the world. If you work in an English office you spend all day at the vending machines; work in a Swedish restaurant and you get one break, at the end of your 18 hour shift.
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Hamsterdam
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:20 AM
Post #9
Joined: 25.Mar.2012

QUOTE (Bender B Rodriquez @ 23.Mar.2013, 06:05 PM) *
Yes, the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock fika is mandatory at most work places smile.gif

Surely all the Swedes have gone home by 3?
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Yorkshireman
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:26 AM
Post #10
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

It isn't too much different from the good ol' English afternoon Tea. Depending how you were brought up of-course smile.gif ... In my family and friends back in the UK, we used to say ... Shall we have tea ... and that implied not only tea/coffee but also cakes and buns, sandwiches etc... it didn't just mean a cuppa.

In Sweden the fika is just like afternoon tea wink.gif ...but can be at anytime of day. In the workplace it is not only a break from work, but also a time for the workers to sit together equally and chat about every day life, whatever the role one has in the company.
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 24.Mar.2013, 03:31 PM
Post #11
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

A fika by any other name is still a fika...but not nearly as eloquent.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 24.Mar.2013, 09:33 PM
Post #12
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (Hamsterdam @ 24.Mar.2013, 10:20 AM) *
Surely all the Swedes have gone home by 3?

Only on Fridays:)
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Storsjöodjuret
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:34 PM
Post #13
Location: Östersund
Joined: 30.Nov.2012

QUOTE (eardoctor @ 23.Mar.2013, 03:00 PM) *
whenever people talk about life in Sweden, they nearly always tend to mention this singularly Swedish habit of "fika", where you and your friend(s) sit down in a caf ... (show full quote)

If this is your impression, then you are doing it wrong.
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Storsjöodjuret
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:35 PM
Post #14
Location: Östersund
Joined: 30.Nov.2012

Attached Image
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AR-US-SE
post 24.Mar.2013, 10:58 PM
Post #15
Location: Kronoberg
Joined: 15.Apr.2011

to the OP: like most things in life, you won't understand it until you get a job here, and do not one, but 10 F***ing years of fika at work... it is impossible to describe the nuances of an office fika, the masses of people pouring into the cafeteria like lemmings falling to the ocean, all at once; the strict separation by teams (photographers here, 3d artists there, interior designer on the corner, etc etc); I wish I was more eloquent but I can't describe it for you.

there are some things that you can't experience by coming over and spending a vacation... you have to move here.
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