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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 13. Mother’s Day. In Swedish, it’s called Mors dag.
Many countries celebrate Mother's Day, and Sweden is no exception. In Sweden, Mother's Day falls on the last Sunday in May.
In this lesson, you’ll learn about how the tradition came to Sweden, how it’s celebrated there, and more!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?-
Do you know what Swedish mothers prefer to receive as gifts on Mother's Day?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in May. It was instituted in Sweden in 1919 through the initiative of author Cecilia Baath-Holmberg, who was inspired by the American model of Mother’s Day. Several different holidays were created during the emerging welfare state in the 1900s. At the time, society was structured around the traditional nuclear family or kärnfamilj, and they specifically wanted this day to draw attention to just the mother in the family.
In 1920, a small booklet was handed out with a number of instructions on how Mother's Day could be celebrated. Amongst other things, it stated that you could raise the Swedish flag, or Svenska flaggan, that children could perform songs to their mothers in the morning, serve her breakfast in bed, or frukost på sängen, and give her flowers. The mother could even get a break from all the housework. Time off from housework was an unusual thing for a woman in the beginning of the 20th century, which made the day extra symbolic and meaningful.
However, it took quite some time before Mother's Day celebrations spread throughout Sweden. People born in the early 1900s and their children did not celebrate the day as we do today. There were many who thought that the day was only invented for commercial purposes, or kommersiella syften, so businesses could sell more. Nowadays, we celebrate Mother's Day like it was meant to be celebrated when it first came to Sweden, with a gift and breakfast in bed.
It’s said that the reason Sweden celebrates Mother's Day later in the year compared to most other countries is because there is a greater chance that you can go out and pick flowers, or blommor, and give them to your mother. Being a northern country, flowers bloom late in Sweden!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what Swedish mothers prefer to receive as gifts on Mother's Day?
According to a 2010 survey, most mothers preferred not having to cook dinner! However, the preferred gift to give were flowers and dinner ended up being second place.
How did you find this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you give something to your mother on Mother's Day?
Leave us a comment letting us know at SwedishPod101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!