I don’t know about you, but by the time Friday rolls around, I’m feeling more wrung out than my favorite go-to Swedish sponge cloths after a good ol’ cleaning session. As much as I’d genuinely love to catch that show/exhibit/restaurant opening, you know my mind has already made a loungewear-clad beeline to the couch―wine and snacks (current favorite: Trader Joe’s Sour Cream & Onion Corn Puffs) at the ready, Great British Baking Show queued up.
Imagine my surprise, then, when my Swedish husband introduced me to a longstanding (well, okay, since the 1990s) tradition called Fredagsmys, which literally translates to “cozy Friday.” An actual designation for staying in on a Friday to enjoy a relaxing evening with snacks, usually in front of the television? Yes, really. I had found my people.
“The elements of Fredagsmys vary a bit depending on your age and whether you spend it with family or friends,” Steffi Knowles-Dellner tells me. Steffi is a Swedish food stylist and author of Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously. “Essentially, it consists of hunkering down and relaxing in the company of others, often in front of the TV. This is perhaps not surprising given that for much of the year, hibernating is our best defense against the cold and dark nights.”
Those of you familiar with hygge, the Danish lifestyle trend best known for giving you permission to cuddle up with tea and lots of low-lit candles, will be happy to know that mys is the cozy Swedish equivalent.
How this translates in a Swedish home is actually quite straightforward. Every Friday evening, many Swedes will gather with family and friends to get their fixings for a “Taco Fredag” (Taco Friday), their Fredagsmys dinner of choice.
After the tacos come the snacks. Usually it’s something simple like popcorn, chips, and/or candy (yes, Swedish Fish too, though they’re just known as pastellfisk there). The important part is that everyone is comfy under their blankets, surrounded by plenty of pillows and candles. The weekend’s arrived, after all.
In my house, we actually observe Fredagsmys every. single. Friday. (When you have a small child, rituals are very, very important.) My husband will normally bring home a bag of Pirate’s Booty or Garden Veggie Straws (our daughter’s favorite), which we’ll all share while watching Lana’s show of choice after dinner (we don’t do tacos every Friday, by the way, maybe just once every couple of months). Sometimes, it’s followed up with a scoop of ice cream. Sometimes there’s a candle or two lit if it’s winter and the sun’s already set at 4:30 p.m.
Excuse for snacks aside, Fredagsmys is a very sweet time for our family. It’s a nice way to leave the previous week at the door and greet the upcoming weekend ahead, to catch up on each other’s days while basking in the glow of children’s programming. Simple, yes, but wholly fulfilling.
Fredagsmys is really all about enjoying life's little pleasures. I highly recommend you give it a try and make it your own.
[Photo via @lenasaibel]