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Kräftskiva Print

What's a kräftskiva (crawfish party)? As the name indicates, a kräftskiva is a party where you eat mostly crawfish and drink copious amounts of alcohol. In Sweden, some people even skip the crawfish altogether and get straight to drinking!  The month of August, during which back in the olden days crayfish were traditionally harvested, is the customary time for this extravaganza.  These days most of the crayfish consumed in Sweden are imported, and it doesn’t really matter what time of the year they’re harvested. But tradition is a sacred thing and needs to be observed.  Here in Houston, crawfish season typically runs from March through about June, so that's why our kräftskiva is in early spring.

Why is it traditional to wear silly hats at kräftskivan?  Nordstjernan - The Swedish Newspaper in America tells us that the custom of kräftskivan is not old and was created not from sentiments of nature romanticism, but by the bureaucracy that, a hundred years ago, prohibited the catching of crayfish but for a couple of months every fall. At one time, the lakes of Sweden teemed with this black gold, which was exported to the high-class restaurants of Paris, London and Berlin, but over-fishing threatened at one point to annihilate them. Thus regulations on the fishing emerged. When the crayfish-eating Swedes had to go without the delicacy right up until late summer, their return to the table became a cause for celebration, and so the crayfish party was born.