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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- “Holidays in Sweden” Series at SwedishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Swedish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10, Waffle Day. In Swedish, it’s called Våffeldagen.
Waffle Day is celebrated on March 25 every year. In conjunction, Annunciation – or as it is better known, Day of Our Lady – is celebrated on a Sunday between March 22 and 26.
In this lesson you will learn about why this day came to be known for being Waffle Day, and what it was all about from the beginning.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question? :
Do you know the reason why, back in the day, young people and children in western Sweden ran barefoot around the house or in the manure piles on this day?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Waffle Day actually has a pretty funny story behind it. In the beginning the Swedes celebrated Annunciation Day, or in Swedish, Marie bebådelsedag. Annunciation Day is also known as “Our Lady Day”, or Vårfrudagen in Swedish. Our Lady Day then started being called “Waffle Day”, which is why many people say Waffle Day instead of Annunciation day, and it’s also the reason why waffles are eaten on this day. The Waffle Day celebration date has been fixed to March 25, while in church the Day of Our Lady is always recognized on a Sunday. Therefore they have become a little separated recently.
Christians celebrate Annunciation Day because it is the day that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced that she would bear God's son, Jesus. This has been celebrated since the 600s. During the times of agrarian society, Our Lady Day started a period of intensive spring tillage, or vårbruk, and marked the transition between winter and spring.
Since the word for “Day of Our Lady”, Vårfrudagen, sounds pretty much like the Waffle Day, Våffeldagen, the Swedes have invented a new tradition and eat waffles with jam and cream, or våfflor med sylt och grädde, on this day instead. Waffles had already been invented in the middle ages, but the modern waffle has its heritage in the late 1800s. In Sweden, it’s common now to buy a ready-made waffle mixture, or färdig våffel-mix, so that you can easily bake the waffles yourself.
Our Lady Day was also used as a weather report back in the day! Depending on how much snow there was on the roof that day, it was said there would be the same amount on the ground at Walpuris night.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question.
Do you know the reason why, back in the day, young people and children in western Sweden ran barefoot around the house or in the manure piles on this day?
It was to make the harvest grow better, and to avoid cracks in the feet during the summer period. It’s a custom in greeting and welcoming the summer months.
How did you find this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Would you rather celebrate Our Lady Day or Waffle Day?
Leave us a comment letting us know at SwedishPod101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!