The Swedish sauna

 Source: "The Swedish Toolkit"


The first time it happened

I thought they were joking with me

Where I come from in Canada

It is uncommon to ask guests to strip

And sit naked together in a warm small room

In Sweden, we like to keep our distance with strangers while waiting for the bus

But it is all fine to sit completely naked in a warm room close to them!

I wish I knew in advance

So I could prepare mentally

Sometimes they will separate genders

But not always

Even if you do not wish to see your mother and father in law lying naked next to you

You might not have a choice

All your attributes will be thoroughly observed


If everything is approved

You may be asked to roll in the snow naked

Or jump into the freezing water ("isvak")

 Then you may be accepted into the family

You can now speak together

And eat together

 Again this fits well within my understanding of Swedish socialization

Do something physical first

Then eat and talk


"The Swedes" and "Working with Swedes" present many of the unknown social rules in Sweden

By Julien S. Bourrelle

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