Swedish culture primer #3: Since our fans demand more pictures of the summer cottage and its environs, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about a strange Swedish custom. This is what is known as a lillstuga or “little cottage”:
As you can see, this looks pretty much like the regular summer cottage but smaller. Traditionally, when you have a child, you build a lillstuga near your summer cottage – not for the baby to sleep in, of course, but to symbolize that there is a new addition to the family. Then, next year, when the baby has grown, you tear down the old lillstuga and build a new, slightly larger one, to commemorate the passage of time. And so on. Every year, you tear down the old lillstuga and replace it with a slightly larger one. The remains are burnt on a pyre and much aquavit is consumed. This goes on until the child comes of age, which in Sweden is at 26. Then, the whole summer cottage property passes to the child and the parents have to sleep in the lillstuga. Charlotte is four now so we have 22 more years – let’s make them good ones!