Swedish word of the day: vår

Swedish word of the day: vår
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Here's a Swedish word that we've all felt hanging in the air the last couple of weeks.

The noun vår is Swedish for spring, the season between winter and summer that many people in Sweden start longing for from, say, October onwards.

(Don't confuse the noun with the pronoun, the latter vår meaning 'our', for example vår katt – our cat)

Våren, the meteorological spring, started officially on the March 1st and lasts until the May 31st. So, when Swedes talk about vår, they usually refer to the period between March and May. The astronomical spring, however, is different, and refers to the period between the March 21st and June 20th.

Yet the meteorologic spring in Sweden actually starts on different days, depending on where in the country you are.

According to the SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, spring started on February 22nd in Malmö, on March 16th in Stockholm, and May 1st high up in Kiruna.

But våren has only really begun when the grey skies have cleared, the sun has appeared, and people in Sweden start to come out as if from a long hibernation. With those first hesitant sun rays or vårsol (spring sunshine), masses take to the streets, start barbecuing in public parks, drink coffee on cafes' outdoor seating.

Others have their ritual vårstädning, their big springtime clean-up, inside their homes or outside in the yard. 

For some, vår means the onset of their pollenallergi or hay fever. For others, it mostly marks the northbound flight of migratory birds.

Vår is thought to be derived from the Low German vorjar, meaning 'the first part of the year'.


Nu har våren kommit.

Now the spring has arrived.

I vår tänker jag gå ut och vandra.

This spring I want to go hiking.

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