On March 25, Swedes celebrate Våffeldag (Waffle Day).
Observed nine months prior to Christ’s birthday, Waffle Day commemorates Mary’s conception. How did Mary’s pregnancy become associated with waffles? This day used to be called Vårfrudagen (our lady day) in honor of the Virgin Mary, and due to dialect corruptions became Våfferdagen, and eventually the modern Våffeldagen. Thus Swedes enjoy waffles on Lady Day.
Another tale reminds Swedes that migratory birds begin returning to their northern homes around the end of March, and cranes were said to carry sunlight in their beaks. “On Annunciation Day the crane carries light into bed,” is a Scandinavian proverb meaning that in early spring there is enough daylight making it unnecessary to carry a candle to lights one’s way to bed. Cranes also brought treats and gifts to children (such as dried fruits and oranges) from southern countries, but oddly enough no waffles.
Serve Swedish-style Waffles with your favorite preserves and plenty of maple syrup, or top them the traditionally Scandinavian way with strawberries or lingonberries and cream. Glad Våffeldag!