Traditional Swedish Games that Are Still Played Today

Swedish history is rich and varied, and even though it stretches far back into the history of humankind, there are still some parts of Swedish tradition that are relevant today. One of these traditions is ancient Swedes’ games, which they played to pass the time or build relationships within their communities.

In this article, we’re going to examine a few traditional Swedish games, how to play them, and the history of each one. If you’re’ sitting bored at home or if you just need something to do with your friends or family, these games are the perfect solution. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to play some traditional Swedish games.

1. Kubb

Kubb is a traditional Swedish game that originates from the Swedish island of Gotland. This game is played by using wooden batons to knock over a collection of wooden blocks. It can be looked at as a mix of bowling and horseshoes, where players must throw their wooden rods at the blocks to knock them over.

Kubb is traditionally played on a small rectangular playing field which is known as a pitch. Two “Kubbs” are placed at either end of the pitch, while a larger block called the king is placed in the middle. Players’ primary objective is to knock over the opposing team’s Kubb and then knock over the king once that’s done. Players may try to make a power play to win the game faster.

This game has alleged Viking origins, having been played and devised by ancient Viking peoples. Although the rules may vary from region to region, Kubb is a classic game that many in Sweden still play today.

2. Varpa

Another traditional Swedish game that dates back to the age of the Vikings, Varpa, is a game that is played outdoors in which players throw a flat circular object called a “Varpa” to get it as close to a stick as possible.

Even though rules vary, the stick is traditionally held 15 meters away for female players and twenty meters away for males. It is possible to play this game individually or in teams, based on the players’ preference.

The word “Varpa” is an old word meaning simply “to throw.” There are currently no organized leagues for Varpa. However, a few unofficial leagues are cropping up across Sweden as the game has gained popularity in recent years. Varpa is also played as one of the disciplines at the annual Stanga Games in Sweden.

3. Jump Sack

This game may be a traditional game for many cultures worldwide, but that does not make it any less traditional for Swedes. Dating back hundreds of years, ancient Swedes and possibly Vikings would stick their legs in burlap sacks and race against each other.

The aim of this game is to cross the finish line ahead of your opponent without taking your feet out of the sack. To accomplish this, one must hold the sack up around their legs by its edges and keep it from falling while they hop to the finish line. As we said earlier, this game has been played across many different cultures and nations, including Sweden.

4. Maypole Dancing

One of the key pieces of Swedish culture is the maypole, a structure with a distinctive shape erected for midsummer and spring festivals. Though much of the meaning behind maypoles has been lost through Christianization in Europe, it is thought that traditionally it is a symbol of fertility and new life.

Maypole dancing is a tradition in which people dance around the pole, each holding a length of ribbon tied to the top of the pole. They must continue the circular dance around the pole without losing hold of their ribbon and without falling. Those who get too dizzy and stumble are removed from the dance. It can be great fun for anyone who wants to play, young or old.

This is a kind of game mixed with a dance that can be played using any structure that resembles a maypole. Or if you happen to find yourself somewhere that still has a maypole set up, you can just use that! Many places in Sweden and throughout Europe still observe spring and midsummer festivals, so finding a real maypole may not be too hard.

The winner of the maypole dance is then crowned as the Mayqueen – or king if you prefer – but traditionally, only women would participate.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the surviving traditional Swedish games that you could try to play today. There are many more games that have not been mentioned but can be played on any online casino games. For example, ancient Vikings seemed to have had a type of chess that they would play with each other, although the rules are not clear to this day.

If you’re looking for some traditional games to play with Swedish origins, we recommend you try the ones we’ve’ listed above. These games include Kubb, Varpa, Jump Sack, and maypole dancing.

To sum it up: Kubb is a mix between bowling and horseshoes, where players must knock over their opponent’s Kubb. Varpa is very similar to horseshoes, as players try to throw an object as close to a stick as possible. Jump sack is a fairly common game that many cultures have played throughout the world, and maypole dancing is a dance that has some competitive elements to it.

We hope the information we’ve outlined above has answered all your questions about what kinds of traditional Swedish games there are for you to try today. For other interesting topics, remember to check out our other articles. Thanks for reading!

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