Friday, August 31, 2007

Spikning - as Luther did it

I was invited to two examples of the same event today, what the Swedes call "spikning", literally: nailing. A little concerned, I asked my office mate about it. "OK," she said, "let's start at the beginning."

It seems that since Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the church doors in Wittenberg in 1517, nailing your thesis to a wall - "spikning" - is the equivalent of making it public, in protestant Sweden.

The tradition lives on here following the example of Martin Luther, and today two doctorate theses in ethnology are made public here at the department of culture and media, and of course I had to go have a look. Also, there's "fika" afterwards. And that's something much more polite than it sounds in Norwegian - it's simply snacks and perhaps a drink. This, the Swedes do well, too.


m said...

Hmmm... So what does "fika" mean in Norwegian?

Torill said...

"Å fike" means "to slap". So: 'Come, let's "fika lite"' does not sound like such a nice invitation to a Norwegian...

But I promise, I understand what it means now, after repeatedly attending "fikningar".