An online debate has started over whether or not Swedes feed their guests, with pop star Zara Larsson chiming in on the matter.
On Reddit, commenters were comparing strange cultural differences they encountered in people, as Sweden’s unusual habit was honoured. People have recounted their experiences of going to a Swedish friend’s house and having to wait in another room while the family ate their meal together.
Thousands of people weighed in on the debate on Reddit and Twitter, and then Larsson added his thoughts. Larsson is best known for her own song “Never Forget You” with MNEK, and also for lending her vocals to Clean Bandit’s #1 hit “Symphony.”
“I remember going to my Swedish friend’s house,” wrote one Reddit user, “And while we were playing in his room, his mom yelled that dinner was ready. And check that out. He told me to WAIT in his room while they ate.” The comment was upvoted over 10,000 times on Reddit as people reacted to the account.
“I slept at a friend’s house,” replied another user, sharing another incident at a Swedish man’s house. When we woke up he said he was coming down for a few minutes. After about 15 minutes I go up the stairs to see what is going on and they have breakfast. They see me and tell me he’s almost done and he’ll be up there soon.” The story ended with the user writing, “I’m still thinking about that shit 25 years later.”
A screenshot of the stories has been shared on other social media platforms. This led musician Larsson to share it and write: “Peak Swedish culture
A Twitter user replied to Larsson’s tweet and wrote that they had twisted a toy or two while waiting for their friend to finish. Responding with a laugh, Larsson wrote, “You deserved this!”
The memories of Reddit users have continued to confuse many people online. @SamQari got more than 80,000 likes for sharing them on Twitter: “I’m not here to judge but I don’t understand. How are you going to eat without inviting your friend?” he wrote.
In response to the thread, @CDahlsjo apparently offered a Swedish perspective. “That was how we did when I grew up. I thought it was super normal until I came to the UK and they were appalled! A friend of mine didn’t have much money, so if there was any left, we let her have some AFTER we were done,” their account ends with the face palm emoji.
“I grew up like this, and it was out of respect for the parents of the visiting child who may have planned a dinner that would then be ruined. Also, sitting down to dinner as a family was an important part of the day then you should ‘not mess up another family’s mealtime’,” @Tyckmyckna recalled and added, “Your friend could absolutely have dinner (or any other meal) with your family, stay home, etc. – if it has been planned and agreed in advance.”
The habit also seems to be discussed on Swedish Twitter. A Google translation of a tweet from @NNorrhall calls for it to be part of Swedish culture and to “extinguish”. He called it “insane behavior”.
An Instagram account @loverofgeography also addressed this trend and compared the trait of Swedes not feeding their guests with the rest of Europe.
The post explains how countries that don’t seem to feed their guests (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway) tend to be more “economical” with their food.