foodholidaysLife in Sweden

Fat Tuesday and Semlor

Fat Tuesday surprised me. I had no idea it was a holiday. I heard a friend was baking some semlor, but I thought he was just in the mood for baking. I had never tried one, it sounded like another typical Swedish godis. But no! It was because it was Fat Tuesday!

At first I thought my Swede was joking. What, a day to get fat?

“Why are you celebrating it?”

“Because it is Fat Tuesday.”

“What is Fat Tuesday?”

“The day you eat semlor.”

“Why do you eat semlor?”

“Because it is Fat Tuesday!”

Arg! This conversation could have gone on and on. I gave up. I ate a semla. It was good.


Luckily a fellow Swedish Freak explained in her blog post what Fat Tuesday was all about. It is that Christian holiday before Ash Wednesday. You know, the one Mardi Gras falls on? So that is why Swedes eat semlor on Fat Tuesday. Some left over Christian tradition, and a perfect excuse to eat semlor. Ok!

For those of you who want to make your own semlor at home, I stole my friend’s semlor recipe! Enjoy!


  1. Michelle
    March 9, 2011 at 21:19 — Reply

    bwahahahahaha! i LOVE that he went in circles. we eat it cause its fat tuesday and fat tuesday is the day you eat it! my kind of logic considering i dont celebrate fat tuesday! but i do celebrate good food and now im debating getting the ingredients so i can make this today!!!!

    • March 10, 2011 at 07:11 — Reply

      OMG, you should! For some reason they sometimes put them in a bowl and pour milk around them (see the video)… Maybe it is the thinking if you eat them in a bowl with milk it is like cereal and must be healthy? An excuse to eat them as desert and as breakfast? hehehe, if you guys do make these, u gotta let me know how they turned out! Next year its my turn!

  2. Kristie
    March 9, 2011 at 21:50 — Reply

    Very informative! I cannot wait to make these.

  3. Johannes
    March 16, 2011 at 09:22 — Reply

    It’s to fatten up before lent actually.

    • March 16, 2011 at 14:06 — Reply

      Yep, that is what Mardi Gras is all about 😉 Ash Wednesday is the first day of lent.

  4. Tillymea
    April 20, 2011 at 09:52 — Reply


    Swedish tradition is nothing special,
    we are barbarians and we need our sugar rush…
    and you should try to eat your Semla in the traditional way,use soup plate with warm milk,and little( kardemumma) spice),
    and place the semla into the milk and then you will have it in the propper way…..

    • April 20, 2011 at 10:36 — Reply

      LOL, I saw someone eat it that way. Truthfully I can barely eat it the “improper” way, I can’t imagine adding milk to that as well! I count my points, I wouldn’t be able to eat for a week after that! 😀

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The Author



Hilary lived two years in Norrland, Sweden (Northern Sweden) and fell in love with the country. While she now lives in a place that is the complete opposite of Sweden (Arizona), she constantly tries to bring Sweden to the desert.