Fika time is a rite in Sweden. Not that this doesn’t exist in other countries, at least with other name, but here in Sweden, it has definitely a major role in Swedes’ life.
The origin of the word is curious. It comes from a back slang used in the 19th century – kaffi – an earlier version of the Swedish word kaffe. It’s nothing more than a coffeebreak, where people gather and discuss private or professional matters, in a relaxed way. It’s not uncommon for management to join emplyees, and can even be considered rude not to join!
There are two fikas a day, one at about 9 and another one at 14.30, which is strictly in accordance to Swedish working schedule (7.30 to 16) and lunch time (11.30). The morning fika consists of a coffee or tea with a smörgås (a delicious open sandwich with butter and cheese/ham/pepper/salmon/shrimps), while the one in the afternoon replaces the sandwich for a sweet, mostly a kanelbullar (a cinammon cake). Some people just have the drink, some also eat something sweet during morning and some (or only me!) replace the sweet for a piece of fruit. The kanelbullar is really nice, but it can only be healthy once in a while, because these sweets contain always a generous amount of sugar…
I have to say I like this social event, even though I don’t always join in. It’s a great opportunity to speak with colleagues, stretch your legs and relax a bit! Because, unlike many others, Swedes really work during the rest of the day, and apart from these breaks, they don’t interrupt the work for a smoke or a talk in the hallways. And that’s just how a working day should be – short but efficient 😉