Fika is an inescapable part of daily life in Sweden. Loosely translated it means “coffee break” however, the significance of fika goes way beyond just a cup of coffee.

Fika here in Sweden has the cultural significance of a daily prayer. You go to work … you fika. You go to class … you fika. You take a test … you fika.

This isn’t just a cup of coffee either; fika is a chance to sit down and relax with your friends and coworkers, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy a pastry. The most popular pastry to go along with a hot cup of coffee is a warm gooey cinnamon roll topped with pearl sugar instead of the frosting that is popular in the US. In fact, this last week Sweden celebrated Kanelbullens Dag or Cinnamon Bun Day. I went to one of the coffee shops here in Växjö where there must have been 200 cinnamon rolls piled on trays and threaded onto strings to decorate the shop.

Fika has to be one of my favorite things about living in Sweden; it gives people a chance to just sit down and talk with each other. A fikapaus doesn’t have to be anything fancy either, a cheap 10 sek ($1)  cup of coffee and a Clif Bar is good enough so long as you get to sit with a friend or a classmate and relax for a few minutes.\


Abbey Whitley is an English major at SDSU. She will be be studying at Linnæus University in Växjö Sweden for a full academic year.

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