Saturday, February 27, 2010


It is rather surprising, that the ordinarily shy Swedes would be so intimate with strangers.
When you negotiate your way in an aisle, in a theatre or cinema, you turn your back to the person you pass.
If you live in England or America that is.
In Sweden you do the opposite. There it is, face to face.
When passing, you face the person you are passing and smile or thank if you are polite. This must appear almost inappropriate to foreigners and maybe an unwanted intimacy since there are not many inches between you.

I have thought about this and wonder if this could go back to Viking times and the way the Vikings were always on the lookout for danger.
In a Swedish skoal (a toast to drink) for example, you obtain eye-contact with the other person (s), and maintain the eye-contact during the skoal. This is said to have developed to make sure that no one was up to any mischief. Like murder.

A Viking would have sensed a definite risk in turning his back to someone else.
By turning your face to the person you are passing, you at least know that you will not be stabbed in the back.

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