From the book
Fika, pronounced as feeka, actually just means ‘coffee’ in Swedish. It originates from the 18th century and the word for coffee back then in Sweden was kaffi. Reversing words and syllables was a huge trend in that time, giving birth to the word fika. Next to the common meaning, the old ‘kaffi’ could also indicate ‘to strive’ in certain contexts.
Both translations lead to the meaning of having a fika; taking a (coffee) break from striving to something. Indicating that a fika is a relaxation moment during a busy day, where one can just slow down for a minute whilst having a cup of coffee accompanied by food. According to the Swedes, fika is the state between work and rest. It is an important part of everyday life, it is a religion. The fika, therefore, is not just a break, it is a get-together or a moment to wind down.
A fika is often used as a social event. It is the moment of the day that one takes the time to sit down and chat with friends and family, to socialize. But a fika can also be used to take some time to yourself. It does not have to be about socializing with others, since it is a personal break that is filled in however one wants. A fika can be held anywhere, the ambience does not matter but the relaxation and social part are what counts.
In Sweden, people have been taking fika’s for ages to decrease their stress-level and have one or more peaceful moments per day. It really has become an everyday ritual, which is shown in their coffee consumption. Statistics from the International Coffee Organization show that Sweden is in the top 10 of most coffee consuming countries. But fika also started to spread to surrounding countries, creating a more well-known concept all around the world.
A fika is not just a Swedish tradition, it is so much more than that. Everybody can include it in their day-to-day lives, enhancing all that it brings to a healthy lifestyle.