Kräftskiva: Swedish Crayfish Party


Every year around August, a festival called Kräftskiva is held in Sweden.

This festival is a crawfish party where everyone eats crawfish dishes.

Crayfish is not a familiar food in Japan. However, in Sweden, crawfish are so joint that they are sold frozen.

In this article, I would like to introduce Kräftskiva in Sweden.

Crayfish Party in Sweden

In Sweden, a festival called Kräftskiva is celebrated in August.

Kräftskiva is simply a crayfish festival where people spend time with family and friends eating crayfish dishes.

It is a typical summer event in Sweden.

Why is it held in the late summer season of August?

Until 1994, the first Wednesday in August was designated the opening day for crawfishing in Sweden.

In those days, people celebrated the opening of the crayfish season by eating the first crayfish dishes of the season on the day the ban was lifted.

By the way, the first foods are also considered to be good luck items in Japan.

There is a custom of eating foods at the beginning of the season, such as hatsu-nasu (eggplant) and hatsu-katsuo (bonito).

There is an anecdote in Japan that eating the first food to appear in the harvest season will prolong one’s life by 75 days.

For Swedes, eating crayfish at Kräftskiva is a way of celebrating the coming of the season and wishing for a happy year ahead.

How to enjoy Kräftskiva

During Kräftskiva, Swedes gather with family and friends for dinner and enjoy crayfish boiled in salt with dill.

To accompany the crawfish dishes, “aquavit,” a distilled liquor made from potatoes with a strength of over 40%, is also drunk.

During the festival, it is also customary to hang paper lanterns from the ceiling with a unique design depicting the face of a smiling man called the “Man in the Moon.”

It is also customary for participants to wear paper triangular hats and aprons made of paper.

When Kräftskiva approaches, Swedish supermarkets sell crayfish dishes, lanterns, and costumes for the festival.


Crayfish dishes in Sweden

It is not customary to eat crawfish in Japan.

Therefore, many Japanese may be surprised to hear of crawfish dishes.

Crawfish is one of the most common dishes in Sweden.

Crawfish has been eaten as a dish in Sweden since around the 16th century.

At that time, crawfish was a luxury food that only a few wealthy people, such as aristocrats, could eat.

And with the changing times, it gradually spread to ordinary people.

Today, Swedish food stores sell many frozen crayfish, not frozen shrimp.

Edible crayfish raised in clean water has no odor and are very tasty.

The taste is similar to that of shrimp and lobster, which are also crustaceans.

The crayfish is eaten when eating crabs, digging into the meat, or slurping up the tasty soup inside the shell.

Crayfish can be domestic (Swedish) or foreign, mainly from China.

Crayfish are often eaten in foreign countries where the price is lower.

Dill that goes well with crawfish dishes

In Kräftskiva, crawfish are often served boiled in salt and cooked in a pot full of crawfish and dill.

Boiling the crayfish gives it a bright red appearance, like a crab.

Dill is always used in crawfish dishes.

Dill is a type of herb that has a fresh flavor and is helpful for odor removal.

Dill is derived from the old Nordic country’s word “Dilla,” meaning “soothing.”

Even today, dill is an indispensable herb in home cooking in Nordic countries.

It is also known as the “fish herb” because of its compatibility with seafood dishes.

In crawfish dishes, it removes the smell of crawfish and adds flavor.

If you try boiling crawfish in salted water in Japan, add dill for a better taste.



Crayfish is an everyday food in Sweden.

At Kräftskiva, held every summer, the whole nation enjoys a crayfish dish together.

If you can try it, you should try crawfish cooking to see what it tastes like.