v14: påsklov

This week is påsklov (Easter holidays) for schools in Sweden. Lov has the same derivation as the English leave. Not to be confused with löv (leaf), and the related verb lövar, to decorate with leafy branches. Both nouns are good words for this time of year – Spring in Sweden.

The year’s school holidays are: sportlov, påsklov, sommarlov, höstlov, and jullov. Some of these have interesting histories:

Sportlov (sport holiday) is a week in February or early March (eg, week 7 in Gothenburg, week 8 in Uppsala, week 9 in Stockholm) when children are supposed to actively participate in winter sports. Sportlov was formerly called kokslov (coke holiday), and originated in 1940, when Sweden was running out of heating fuel, and schools were closed for three weeks to aid the rationing process. There’s a nice article about the 70th anniversary of sportlov in Sydsvenskan.

Höstlov (autumn holiday) is a week in October or November. Höstlov has previously been known as potatislov (potato holiday) or skördelov (harvest holiday) – a time to go and help out in the fields.

Strangely, while school holidays are lov, holidays for workers are semester. Yes, the word comes from the latin for six months, and generally refers to a division of the year into two parts, such as university terms, but not so in Swedish. Although it does seem at times that we do get around six months of holidays here in Sweden, but that is a relatively recent phenomenon, the full five weeks’ holiday allowance only having been law since 1978, according to another interesting article about Swedish holidays, this time in SvD.

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Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 09:29  Leave a Comment  
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