It was Friday afternoon and crazy busy in the supermarket; it looked like half of Aarhus had picked the exact same time to do their weekend shopping as me. I had picked up the kids and was now wandering through the aisles, trying to figure out what to cook in the weekend. I should have done that in the reverse order of course, but somehow it had seemed like a good idea – hyggelig even – to take the kids with me and together decide what to cook.
My two little girls were running around with small shopping carts, rudely bumping into other people’s legs, and my teenager was getting more and more upset and embarrassed by her little sisters’ behaviour. I couldn’t blame her for that, I felt quite embarrassed myself. I almost got to the point where I wanted to yell at them and drag them outside, push them into the car and drive home. Only the thought of the disapproving faces of the people around me made me not to. Danes do not yell at their kids, nor do they drag them around the supermarket.
At that moment my seven year old, completely unaware of my infuriated thoughts, put on her sweet angel face and said she wanted to show me something. She pulled me over to the candy area with the buckets of bland selv slik, where it was swarming with children that were filling up small paper bags with different kinds of candy. “Look”, she said, “this is what kids in Denmark do on Fridays”. I immediately understood that she was talking about the Danish habit of eating fredagsslik. Obviously a habit she would not mind adopting. After all, what’s not to like about filling up a paper bag with candy every Friday afternoon?
Anyway, it’s not just about the candy. It’s just as much about the activity that goes with it: watching Disney Sjov, a series of short Disney films that have been broadcast on national TV every Friday evening since 1992. For a long time I thought that this was the Disney Show (a name that still makes more sense to me than Disney Sjov). Only recently, when I received a text message from another mom asking if my daughter could stay for dinner and watch Disney Sjov with them, it clicked. I stared at the word Disney Sjov, read it a few times and realized that it was not a show, but for sjov, for fun.
To get back to my supermarket situation, the fredagsslik saved our shopping adventure. I decided to give in and buy them some. I asked my daughter how much candy she thought we should put in each bag. Was five enough? She looked at me, puzzled. I could almost read her thoughts: is there any space for negotiation? “Six” she said firmly. I put on my serious face (deep down laughing about the small amount) and agreed with her. She ran to tell the good news to her little sister. It took them forever to decide which six candies they liked best. In the meantime, I quietly finished my tour around the supermarket and even managed to choose a nice bottle of wine for the weekend. Fredagsvin: sounds to me like a pretty good way to kick off the weekend!