In northern Sweden, where the winter season means up to 20 hours of darkness a day, staying positive during colder months is tough, but fortunately, residents of these parts of the world have come up with a variety of strategies to make winters more fun and cozy. One of these strategies is illördag, or “little Saturday.”
The concept of “little Saturday” dates back to when servants and maids worked Saturdays, but had Wednesdays off. Today, many Nordic cultures treat Wednesdays as a day of mini celebration and fun to blow off steam and boost morale during long, dark days.
According to Constanze Leineweber, associate professor at the Stress Research Institute of Stockholm University, the concept of little Saturday helps break up the work week and gives workers something to look forward to. Many pubs offer illördag discounts while families may choose to celebrate with campfires or delicious treats like oysters and champagne. “Something like Little Saturdays can be quite wise in helping people to create structure and fulfillment even when they’re feeling lost,” Leineweber told BBC.
During the pandemic, when workdays and weekends tended to blend into one another, many Nordic residents leaned into the concept of little Saturday even more. For isolated people, especially parents, virtual celebrations offered midweek relief and more weekly structure.
During winter, if you’re feeling burnt out or discouraged by its cold and darkness, adopting a little Saturday tradition could help you recapture some of that winter magic and sense of community. This could look like organizing a game night with good friends, cooking a fun new recipe, getting crafty, or just enjoying a glass of wine by the fire.