Three weeks after I arrived here in Sweden, I’m starting to love one of its traditions relating to food.
“Fika” (fee-ka) is said to be a social institution for Swedes of all ages and it simply means “drinking coffee.”
The word is both a Swedish verb and noun. Fika takes place normally after the three major meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee comes with pastries, cookies, biscuits, bread and cinnamon buns (“bullar” in Swedish). Like any tradition, it has evolved from drinking coffee to tea, juice or any kind of beverage.
While I was still in Manila for the program orientation, I was intrigued on the fact that Swedes love to eat in small amounts in between meals, during Fika.
My curiosity was answered upon arrival in Sigtuna during my firsthand experience of what they call “Fika.” It was when I first met my fellow program participants from Brazil and South Africa.
There in that single instance, I knew what Fika truly meant and that it was not purely a time for Swedes to take a coffee break or eat cookies but it is more of a time for fellowship. While drinking coffee and eating cookies, conversations between our Swedish facilitators and fellow program participants began to flourish. Fika was instrumental in getting to know our companions well in this exchange program.
Sweden’s tradition is deep in its meaning. Also, the occasion of Fika becomes a venue for relationships to be strengthened and nourished among family, friends, church members and work colleagues.
Aside from providing time for interaction, it can also be called a sweet and quick escape from the serious side of life. Fika always brings fun, laughter and smiles to everyone who would share in the meal with companions. It’s an occasion to be happy and to get away from the stress of daily work.
This Fika tradition speaks of how Swedes handle the hard and fast life in a developed country. They really make it a point that in the middle of working hours, it’s but fitting to breathe, drink coffee, take some snacks, sit and talk with somebody.
Traditions are but very nice to follow when you get to know the very essence of it. Three weeks has passed and I am still not certain about the whole meaning of Fika but at least, I’m writing some preliminary observations on why such tradition exists here in Sweden.
Fika can be synonymous with a cup of coffee paired with cinnamon buns but for me, I would define it as a way of fellowship for Swedes. It’s but an important time of the day to pause and get some coffee to cope with the cold weather and lastly, it’s a time to talk and share thoughts about life.
//Klein F. Emperado is one of the exchange students in the exchange programme ”Young in the World Wide Chuch” 2014. During three months he will be spending time in Sweden, sharing life, faith and every day life. Klein is a Mass Communications graduate from Silliman University, Dumaguete, Philippines and also he works as Editorial Assistant for the said university. In the exchange he represents the Philippine Independent Church/Iglesia Filipina Independiente. His line of ministry is focused mainly on Liturgy and Music for the Diocese of Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
// Klein F. Emperado är en av deltagarna i utbytesprogrammet Ung i den världsvida kyrkan 2014. Under tre månader delar han vardag, tro och liv med människor här i Sverige. Under sin första månad spenderar han tid i St Mikaels församling i Stockholms stift. Klein har tagit examen i masskommunikation vid Silliman University, Dumaguete, Filippinerna och han jobbar idag som redaktörsassistent för nämnda universitet. I utbytesprogrammet representerar han den Filippinska oberoende kyrkan (Iglesia Filipina Independiente). Hans stora intresse och inriktning innom kyrkan är främst liturgi och musik för stiftet i Negros Oriental och Siquijor.