On the Reddit forum r/AskReddit, user u/sebastian25525 asked:
“What is the weirdest thing you had to do at someone else’s house because of their culture/religion?”
To which he received the response:
“I remember going to my Swedish friend’s house. And while we were playing in his room, his mom yelled that dinner was ready. And check this. He told me to WAIT in his room while they ate.”
Immediately people who lived in Sweden and had visited Sweden backed up the fact that it was often the case that visitors to their homes were not offered food. One sharing their experience, saying:
“I had a good friendship with my Swedish neighbour FOR SEVERAL YEARS & every time I was at her house during dinnertime she would leave me ALONE in her bedroom NOT SAYING A WORD TO ME, left me alone for about 20-30 minutes while I sit upstairs with a hungry stomach.”
Many users from elsewhere in the world were shocked at what in their own country would be regarded as deeply disrespectful. It even got coined online as #swedengate.
However, one Swedish user, backed up the thinking behind the practice, saying:
“The Swedish thinking goes like this: the other child (or the other family) may have plans for another kind of dinner, and you wouldn’t want to ruin the routine or preparations. I don’t think it is anything to do with not wanting to feed the other child or because it costs money or anything like that, it’s more to do with tradition and wanting to eat with your own family.”
While another said:
“Swedes cook for the people they expect (family). Precise portions. We don’t mind guests, just tell us in advance and we’ll add one more. And in Sweden, it’s understood, you don’t eat at a friend’s house unannounced. No big deal here.”
One Twitter user shared a map showing an investigation into where people could be expected to be fed, with the nations of Italy, Spain and Greece being considered the most sharing while the Scandinavians were the least likely to cook for guests.
This is blowing people’s minds, so as an amateur historian and sociologist I’m going to try to explain this development/ cultural artifact. pic.twitter.com/vNF0MMpMFK
— Incompent Beneficiary of Nepotism (@WallySierk) May 29, 2022
[Based on reporting by: The Independent]