Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Sejla Hodzic is a foreign exchange student from Sweden. She is being hosted by my family who lives in Willard, Utah. She is 18 years old. She has lived in Sweden her entire life, but her parents are from Croatia. She lives with her father and her brother. She came to the United States of America for the first time at the beginning of August 2018.
I collected this piece when I went to visit my family. Sejla and I went into our basement so that we could sit and talk with minimal interruption. Our basement is usually pretty quiet during the day and it has comfortable seating. I had given her previous information about what I was going to ask her, so she knew what traditions that she wanted to talk about. This tradition was shared in a collection of other Swedish customs. Crayfish Day is a holiday that is celebrated on the second Friday of August. Family members usually get together to join in a meal that primarily consists of Crayfish. Songs and stories are usually shared at this gathering. The songs typically are about fish or vikings. The space the party takes place in is usually decorated with a face that is associated with the holiday.
Sejla: Okay, this is going to sound really fun, but we have like a Crayfish party.
Alana: A Crayfish?
S: Uh huh. Em, that’s always the second Friday in August, cuz that when the seas [mumbled] for the Crayfish. And it’s so like okay so uh I don’t have my phone [wanting to look something up] but like if you searched it on Google just Crayfish Party Sweden you’d see cuz you always have a lot of like balloons to decorate and I think that these balloons are kind of creepy cuz it’s like faces and I don’t know why we have those balloons. And ya, so you just it’s just a day when you meet all your friends and family and eat a lot of Crayfish and usually bread. [Looking at a picture of the face on balloon] I don’t know what is special about that face cuz if you ever go to a Crayfish party the plates will have that face like the napkins have that face on them the balloons. All the things have that face. And you usually just eat a lot of Crayfish and it’s usually like only Crayfish with like bread, but you don’t have like potatoes or anything else. It’s just Crayfish and you can eat like twenty of them and you just keep eating [laughs]. And we usually sing some songs too and stuff. I always think that that is a weird tradition and I really don’t know why we do it. And I have always wondered why cuz it just don’t make any sense cuz I have no idea why the face is so special.
A: Do you know why there is a day devoted to just Crayfish?
S: I don’t know but I just know that, cuz when we talked about that one in school that’s like one of the oldest traditions Sweden has had. And that’s probably because we like live really close to the ocean and we have a lot of Crayfish, and like hundreds of years ago everyone got so happy during August because that’s when we have a lot of Crayfish. I would just celebrate that it’s the season for Crayfish. Let’s start eating. It’s so weird I know.
A: What kind of songs do you sing?
S: It’s like songs about fish and Crayfish and um, so all the songs that I know also include about the Vikings and stuff, about how they ate Crayfish and stuff. I don’t why we sing about them but [laughs]. Ya, but that’s not as big as Midsummer, you don’t get off work like you do with Midsummer cuz I’m not sure it counts as a holiday.
The tradition of the Crayfish party was shared from the perspective of the informant’s experience. She spoke fondly of the day and the festivities that she participates in, but was unsure about the origin and the decorations that are tied to the event. She made comments about how it was strange to have a day that is specifically to celebrate fish, but it was still a big deal in Sweden nonetheless.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
Miller, Alana, "Crayfish Day" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 430.