Written by Ateca Tukana on February 16, 2022
Fika, the delightful custom of enjoying a coffee and a treat with friends, is as Swedish as ABBA. Surely it’s just a coffee break? Not quite. It’s much more than that.
So, when did this ritual first surface? The word itself is believed to be a reversal of the syllables in the word kaffi, the old spelling of coffee. Originally, it was the coffee itself, which was introduced in Sweden in the 18th century, that was considered the actual fika. Over the years, however, the accompanying baked treats – often called fikabröd (fika bread) – became just as important, along with the social aspect of the custom. The arrival of patisseries in Sweden in the 19th century cemented the tradition as a coffee-and-cake-custom enjoyed with friends.
So ingrained in the Swedish psyche is the custom that some companies add a clause to contracts stating that employees are entitled to fika breaks. A clever move, since a spot of fika can be therapeutic, promoting wellbeing and productivity.
Fika, which is so well-established that it’s used as both a noun and a verb, can be had indoors or in nature. And thanks to Sweden’s unique right of public access, you’re free to fika almost anywhere. A fika out in the woods or in a nearby park is a popular pastime on a sunny day.
Imagine if we had something like this in Fiji. It would be like morning tea and afternoon kinda thing except it’ll be added onto work contracts.
Wistful thinking but who knows we might just have something like this added onto work contracts later on.