It’s almost Christmas! How did it go this fast? In the last days before the holiday itself, everyone seems to be running around in a hurry to get everything ready. With that in mind, I have an appropriate word for you today:
Julstök is a bit difficult to translate. If you search on google, it’ll tell you the English translation is “Christmas preperations”, but I don’t feel like that catches the nuance of it. As we have seen before jul means Christmas. Stök, however, is the trickier bit. As an adjective, stökig means messy, disorganized. As a verb, att stöka means to clean, to tidy up but in terms of connotation, it’s not as plain as that. It more conjures up the meaning of to bustle around tidying things up, if you ask me.
So julstök refers to the hustle and bustle that happens before Christmas: cleaning, tidying, decorating, baking and cooking primarily. It’s got a connotation of both hurry/urgent activity and also in a weird way, homeliness and freshly baked gingerbread cookies. Bit of duality there.
Anyway, I hope you all aren’t stressing out too much before the holidays. I’m trying to take things slow, myself.
Today I had my last day at the office for a few weeks. I had some vacation days to use. I’ll have to keep an eye on my work email during that time, but I won’t really be working. I also won’t be studying. It’ll be the first time in years I go through the holiday season without a looming deadline, and it really feels like I’m now on jullov, which is my word for you today:
So, jullov means Christmas hols or Christmas leave, really. Jul means Christmas and lov means a break from school. I’m not sure of the etymology of this word, but if I had to guess I’d say it was related to the expression att ha/få lov (to have/get permission or leave). It’s really only used with regard to school breaks, in compounds like höstlov (fall break), sommarlov (summer break), påsklov (Easter break) and sportlov (sport break, a one-week break in eary spring). When used by an adult it’s either ironically or, like in my case above, with child-like glee.
I look forward to spending the next few weeks reading, and writing. Hope you all have a lovely, relaxing holiday season too.
Advent Calendar Day 10 and 11 – Christmas Markets and Brända Mandlar
Another double post today. I had a lovely day yesterday, but long enough that I couldn’t write straight in the evening and opted to go to bed without blogging.
One of the reasons I had such a long day yesterday was that I helped my mom with selling Fair Trade stuff at a Christmas market nearby. Even though the weather wasn’t optimal yesterday (slushy snowfall all day and no real sun), I still always enjoy a Christmas market. The atmosphere, the generally good mood of the market-goers, the classic food and crafts being sold… It’s just cozy, I think. I only bought a few Christmas classics: game sausages (moose, reindeer and boar), some toffee (okay, not a Christmas classic, but a classic all the same) and our Language Pantry word for today: bärnda mandlar.
No banner today because I couldn’t take (or find a copy-right free) photo that suited the format I usually use. Anyway… there are two kinds of Bärnda Mandlar (burnt almonds) that are common in Sweden. One kind is basically blanched almonds fried in sugar. Those are best consumed hot, and although I personally don’t associate those with Christmas a lot of people do. The second kind, seen above, are covered in (usually pink) marzipan and to me they are a Christmas must! The show cannot go on without them. They’re probably my favorite Christmas candy.
Advent Calendar Day 8 and 9 – Christmas Parties and Snapsvisor
Hi guys! Last night I decided to forgoe my blogging on the basis that I came home past midnight and had had quite a bit of wine. We had our office Christmas party, which was why. Or well, more of a Christmas dinner because apart from drinking, we don’t really do much partying during them. It’s very common here for workplaces to have a Christmas dinner or party in the weeks before Christmas. I have to admit I quite like getting to have Christmas food twice, though unfortunately the place we went to this year didn’t have the best food.
That brings us to today’s Word Pantry word:
A snapsvisa is a short, often funny song that is sung when you drink snaps, Swedish hard liquor drunken in small glasses. In my mind, there are two kinds of snapsvisor (plural of snapsvisa). What I consider to be “regular” snapsvisor are usually humorous and often seasonal, but can still be pretty well-written lyrics. There are also snapsvisor which are parody versions of well-known melodies, with lyrics usually centered on heavy drinking and possibly the tragic consequences of this. I prefer the first variety, myself. I think the other kind are just… well, not that funny to be honest. I do love snaps though!
I was going to write a longer post with a lot of photos but frankly, I’ve had other stuff on my mind today. So we’re settling for one picture:
A simple but useful and seasonal word today: julpynt.Jul means Christmas (related to English yule) and pynt means… deco, I guess. A thing that is used for decoration. The word isn’t used much outside of compounds like julpynt and påskpynt (Easter deco), and there’s also a verb att pynta (to decorate). Note that this is only decoration in the sense of adding decorative items to an already decorated rooms. So the initial decoration of a room would not be called att pynta. I’d also argue that julpynt is usually a collective noun. Some people do use it in the singular for “a piece of Christmas deco” but personally I find that a bit odd-sounding.
It’s been pretty quiet here at Zero, Eight, Love, lately. I’ve had a bit of a hectic fall, and not much time or energy for blogging. Well, it’s about to get busy in here! From today until Christmas Eve, I will be posting daily in a sort of advent calendar. All the posts will be themed around Christmas in Sweden, and it’ll be a mix of post types, some Word Pantry and Music Monday posts with other things inbetween. I might even throw in a recipe or two!
I thought we’d start at the beginning, as it were, so the first post in this calendar is a Word Pantry post about…. advent calenders!
This is one of those words that’s pretty easy to understand even if you don’t know any Swedish. Advent means advent (d’uh). Kalender means calendar. The s between is a sort of genetive (which technically I think is not supposed to be there, but is there anyway because its been lexicalized that way and that rule has about a million exceptions it seems). Advent calendars, at least in Sweden, consist of 24 doors and one is opened on each day from December 1st to Christmas Eve.
I’m not very familiar with how common or uncommon advent calendars are in other countries or what the customs around them are, but without comparing here to anywhere else I can say that we’re pretty fond of our advent calendars here in Sweden. Let’s go over some of the most common kinds:
Chocolate calendars. When I was a kid, these were a must have every Christmas. Since we usually only had candy on Saturdays, it was a thrill to get a piece of candy every day for a whole 24 days. Eventually I outgrew the rather icky cheap chocolate that most kids’ chocolate calendars contain so I didn’t have one for quite a while, but a while back I discovered that the chocolate company Lindt has calenders with high quality chocolate, so last week I bought my “grown up” chocolate calendar for this year. Delicious!
Tv and radio calendars. Every year, SVT (Swedish state television) and SR (Swedish state radio) air a 24-episode advent calendar program. I never really listened to the radio one, but the TV one was a given when I was a kid. The episodes are short, usually about 15 minutes long, and vary quite a bit in style. Sometimes they’re old-fashioned Christmas stories filled with snow and candles, sometimes fairytales, sometimes comedic, sometimes more like a fantasy story etc. This year’s calendar seems to belong in the first category. I don’t watch the TV calendar too often these days, usually I check out the first episode and then decide if I’m going to keep going. I’ll probably check out the first episode or two of this year’s calendar tomorrow.
Gift calendars. My family always has a gift calendar with tiny, cheap presents (small chocolate bars and the like). My mom keeps a schedule of who gets a gift which day, though now that my brother and I don’t live at home they don’t always get opened on the right day. We hang our gifts up in the living room at my parents house, so they become part of the Christmas decorations, but I’ve seen all sorts of setups for gift calendars. Some have these sort of wallhangings featuring numbered pockets to put gifts inside, others hang up boxes or baubles filled with things in their tree.
I sort of consider these the three “main” kinds of calendars, but of course there’s many others. A few years ago, for example, I got an advent calendar for my birthday from The Body Shop, which was fun and felt very luxurious. Some stores will also have “advent calendars” with new discounts each day, which I don’t quite think counts but oh well! Some day I’d like to find a tea advent calendar. Now that would be fun!
This post turned out rather long for a Word Pantry post, but there you go! See you again tomorrow. Oh and, you should check out my main blog where I’m doing a different kind of advent calendar. Over there, I’m signal boosting marginalized creatives every day until Christmas. Today’s post is about an awesome literary magazine called Capricious! Check it out!
Today, after a period of silence, I come to you with a word that I often see on those “beautiful words from foreign languages” lists. Namely:
Beautiful, right? I need to find a reason to put this in a book one day.
The amusing thing with those lists is that they often write out the word as mangata instead of mångata. Which makes the meaning manstreet or manestreet rather than moonstreet. Not quite as poetic, I think.
Hello everyone! It’s August now, and I thought I’d start August off with a new Swedish word for you:
This is one of those words that are very, very specific but sometimes just the thing you need. For example, in April-May I usually get very dagvill because there are so many red days and long weekends that end up messing up my day job schedule. Dag means day and I think that the -vill part is related to vilse which means lost (as in having lost your way, not as in being misplaced). A similar, older, word is veckovill. I used to think that meant being confused about what week it was, but apparently it means being confused about what day of the week it is so they’re synonyms. The more you know!
One of the things I wanted to do on this blog is to teach you guys some Swedish words. And, suitably, I’m starting with the word ordförråd, which is the Swedish word meaning vocabulary (usually in the sense of the range of words a particular person knows, rather than the wider sense of the lexicon of a language). Ord means word and förråd means storage or inventory, like for example a basement storage unit. I’m not sure exactly why, but I tend to associate the term with the concept of a pantry (even though that’s actually called skafferi in Swedish). It’s just a nice image. A little door in your head, behind which all the words you know live on little shelves covered in gingham paper.
So, for this reason these vocabulary posts will be called The Word Pantry. Hopefully you’ll find lots of tasty morsels in it.