What is #Swedengate? How the Internet set Sweden on fire for not feeding house guests

the nation of Sweden is in the center of a line debate after many Internet users were shocked to learn of the Swedish language tradition not to serve food to guests in some situations.

The controversy began in the popular Reddit forum r/AskReddit when u/sebastian25525 asked the question, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to do in someone else’s house because of their culture/religion?”

A Reddit user response gained special attention on the Internet: “I remember going to my Swedish friend’s house. And while we were playing in his room, his mom yelled that dinner was ready. And check this. She told me to WAIT in her room while they ate.”

From there, the Reddit post spread like wildfire on social media, with the hashtag #Swedengate trending on Twitter. Before long, thousands of users were sharing their own experiences of not receiving food in a Swedish home. Many Swedes defended the practice, while non-Swedes began to criticize the country for its gastronomic practices.

Swedes don’t serve food to their guests?

While most people on the internet were surprised to learn that Swedes are unlikely to feed guests at home, the practice is actually the norm throughout Sweden.

As a general rule, Swedes do not serve food to guests (especially other children who play in your house) so as not to spoil any dinner plans your family may have.

cute johansson wrote an opinion piece on the subject for the independent: “Swedish thinking goes like this: the other child (or the other family) may have plans for another type of dinner, and you don’t want to mess up the routine or the preparations. I don’t think it has anything to do with not wanting to feed the other child or because it costs money or anything like that, it has more to do with tradition and wanting to eat with their own family.”

Through the Internet, many other Swedes confirmed this long tradition.

“Swedes cook for people who are waiting (family). Precise portions,” one user tweeted. “We don’t care about the guests, just tell us ahead of time and we’ll add one more. And in Sweden, of course, you don’t eat at a friend’s house unannounced. It’s not a big deal here.

Another person explained that the tradition was “out of respect” for the visiting child’s parents “who may have planned a dinner” that would later go to waste. “Also, sitting down to dinner as a family was an important part of the day, so you shouldn’t mess with another family’s mealtime,” they said.

Even Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson weighed in on the controversy, tweeting: “Swedish culture at its peak

Why is there outrage?

As the discussion around Swedish cultural practice gained steam, many users took a bit of offense at the country’s tendency to not cater to its guests. Some people believed that children, even if invited, should still be fed in case they haven’t eaten all day.

“But why do you invite children to play without thinking that you NEED to feed them? Kids get tired and hungry after playing,” said one Twitter user.

Another person, who grew up in Stockholm to Persian parents, claimed their Swedish neighbor left them alone and “hungry” in her room while she was having dinner with her family. “I had a good friendship with my Swedish neighbor FOR SEVERAL YEARS and whenever I was at her house for dinner she would leave me ALONE in her room WITHOUT SAYING A WORD to me, she would leave me alone for about 20-30 minutes while I sit upstairs with him. hungry stomach,” they said.

Others cited their own cultures as reasons for never leaving a hungry guest in their own home. In fact, the Instagram account @LoverofGeography created a Map in the wake of #Swedengate which highlights which European countries are more likely than others to feed their guests. Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland were highlighted in red, meaning “very unlikely to give you food.” Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece were considered “almost always” likely to serve food to their guests.

“Meanwhile in Indonesia, we cook extra food every day in case some friends, family and neighbors come over for lunch or dinner,” one person tweeted, while another said, “This doesn’t happen in Asian families. In any case, the host will not eat in order to give more to the guest.”

Another person wrote: “Just so you know, black people look down on people who do this. Not feeding a child when he comes to play but everyone else ate is a guaranteed way to make sure that child never walks through his door again. We feed everyone. Even when we don’t have enough.”

After days of debating Sweden’s cultural practices, it’s safe to say that #Swedengate won’t change much about the country’s unspoken rule of not feeding your house guests. While the tradition is typical of Sweden, it seems that the only people who find it strange are those who are not from Sweden. If anything, online discourse helped shed light on the world’s different cultures, even if they cause quite a stir.

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