Swedish sayings

It’s not for nothing that cultures across the world use proverbs. They are a way to make sense of life’s complications, sharing hard-earned wisdom or a deeper universal truth. In those few words, you can ease your mind or be energised to change old ways. With child-like simplicity, these sentimental sayings can be traditional but still hold an urgency and weight that cuts through to modern day. Many with ancient and folkloric origins, they remain timeless lessons shared across generations.

In this same spirit, below is a shortlist of Swedish proverbs and what they teach us:

“Morgonstund har guld i mund.”
Morning hour has gold in its mouth.
Lesson: Wake up early, those hours are the best.

“Var fågel sjunger efter sin egen näbb.”
Each bird sings according to its own beak.
Lesson: Everyone has their own voice.

“Alla är vi barn i början.”
We all start out as children.
Lesson: Keep trying, failure is a fact of life.

“Gå som katten kring het gröt.“
Don't walk around hot porridge like a cat.
Lesson: Be concise and straightforward.

“Gör inte en höna av en fjäder.”
Do not make a hen out of a feather.
Lesson: Small problems are unimportant.

“Ana ugglor i mossen.”
Sensing owls in the bog.
Lesson: Get comfortable with confusion.

“Hur man än vänder sig har man ändan bak.”
Whichever way you turn your bum is on your back.
Lesson: Things will go wrong no matter what.

“Ensam är stark.”
Alone is strong.
Lesson: Nurture your independence.

“Det är ingen ko på isen”
There’s no cow on the ice.
Lesson: Don’t worry, everything is fine.

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