An exploration of Sweden long ago.
As midterms approached and the halfway point in the semester was almost here, I wanted to do something more traditional in Stockholm.
Last weekend, my friend Ivana and I visited the Autumn Fair at Skansen, an open air museum in the heart of Stockholm. Part zoo, part aquarium, part time capsule, Skansen is a unique place that encapsulates something distinct about Sweden.
Michaelmas is a Christian holiday that falls on September 29th, celebrating the archangel Michael. Because of its position at the beginning of fall, it is often utilized as a celebration of the beginning of autumn in many European cultures.
The autumn fair had many interesting activities, foods, and crafts to try. Here were some of my favorites:
The feats of strength. From hitting nails into a plank of wood, to the stilts, to the “Porslins Krossning,” where you could pay about a dollar to knock plates off of a rack with a ball. If you got three, you won an apple as your prize.
The food. I finally tried a Swedish hot dog for the first time. The distinctive difference is that Swedish hot dogs are longer than their buns. I also tried a “Kolbulle,” or “Coal Roll,” a traditional food eaten by miners in the 1800s, but less popular today. It is basically a funnel cake filled with bacon and fried in bacon grease, served with lingonberries on top. It was fatty, yet delicious and filling.
The handicrafts. The main attraction was of course the traditional crafts. Items for sale ranged from homemade socks, to soaps, to jams and honeys. I found some wool shoe inserts that have been keeping my feet warm as the weather turns more chilly.
The clothing. To get into the spirit of a traditional autumn festival, all of the vendors and volunteers were dressed in authentic clothing. To get in the spirit, you could also pay to get dressed up and take an old-timey photo. Naturally, I went for this option.
All in all, there is no better way to ring in fall in Stockholm.