Today is the first Thursday in March, a normal, boring “första torsdagen i mars” everywhere in Sweden. Well not quite everywhere, because people from Småland in the south have started to celebrate this special day by calling it “fössta tossdan i mass” and eating as much marzipan cake as possible!
But why? Did something of historical relevance happen? Is it the birthday of a famous Smålander? Or a special religious holiday? The answer is… none of the above.
Rather, it’s just a celebration of the way Smålanders talk. They simply find their pronunciation of “första torsdagen i mars” amusing. Their accent means they drop their “r”, creating “fössta tossdan i mass”.
But it doesn’t stop with giving the day a name…
Smålanders are not only aware, but also proud, of the way they talk. So with that in mind, five years ago a local called Jonas Sveningsson created a Facebook page dedicated to this special day. It took off, and now has just over 8,000 likes and followers.
No Swedish celebration is complete without a celebratory food, so the marzipan cake was adopted as the sweet treat of choice for the day. Why marzipan cake? It all comes back to the Småland accent, of course. The boring “marsipan tårta” becomes a way more fun “massipan tååta” in Småland. And like all Swedes, Smålanders love an excuse to eat something tasty.
And it turns out people from Småland have reason to be proud: it’s the home of Astrid Lindgren, Ikea and Agnetha Fältskog from Abba, three global Swedish icons.
“The event is now a celebration in the whole of Småland, we are proud we have many famous companies and celebrities from here,” Smålander Meénakshi Bredberg explained to The Local.
Agnetha Fältskog (second from the right) probably also enjoys celebrating with a nice “massipan tååta”. Photo: Olle Lindeborg/TT
So there you go: now you’re an expert on why Smålanders eat lots of cake and celebrate their unique way of speaking on “fössta tossdan i mass”.
They’re not the only Swedes with their own take on the Swedish language though. Read more about some local words from Skåne, further south.