Swedish Traditional Crayfish Party ‘ Kraftskiva’

Swedish Traditional Crayfish Party ‘ Kraftskiva’

By Steve Davey

Swedish Traditional Crayfish Party ‘ Kraftskiva’

Swedish Traditional Crayfish Party ‘KRAFTSKIVA

Pronounced:  Kraft – Hwee- va.

As we all know Scandinavians need little excuse to throw a party! One of the big traditions in Sweden is the crayfish party usually celebrated in August. If you are new to this summer feast we’ve put a brief history of how it all came about and what you need to have your own Swedish crayfish feasts this summer! If you love shellfish, booze and  singing and you don’t mind getting quite messy,  this is the party for you!

Crayfish have been eaten in Sweden since the 1500’s by the aristocracy and was usually used in sausages, patties, ragouts and puddings, it wasn’t until the 1800;s that crayfish became a regular food for the middle classes and the 1900’s when it became a national delicacy.

The consumption of the crayfish grew significantly at the end of the nineteenth century to a point where they were overfished, meaning Sweden needed to draw in the reins instead of the nets. A law came in force that only allowed consumption from August 7th – the kräftpremiären (“The Crayfish Premiere”) – through to November 7th.

“But the law was abolished in 1994, nowadays the party is usually celebrated throughout August, to celebrate the darker evening drawing in and the end of summer.

Traditional Swedish crayfish party table , party hats, bibs and napkins, decorated with crustaceans.

Traditional Swedish Crayfish Party Table.  www.devote.se.


A typical crayfish party will need….

a warm and tender night in August!!! ( this is traditionally an outdoor affair) of course we understand you may want to hold it inside if your evening of choice is not on the sunny and dry side!

fresh crustaceans ( lots and lots of them) eaten cold with your fingers!  Salads, crisp breads, and of course a delicious dessert too!  The link below to sweetpaulsmag has recipes and information for this  Swedish feast.


Swedish traditional celebration, in August & september, crayfish party, Scandinavian traditional celebrations,

Swedish Crayfish Feast for August.     www.sweetpaulmag.com image by Susanna Blavarg


plenty of ‘Aquavit’ or similar schnapps is a must, beer and other alcohol is allowed of course! Prepare yourself for plenty of singing and shot drinking throughout the evening, ( this is not a party for tea totaler’s).

Crayfish party with schnapps drinking and singing Helan gar!

Crayfish Party obligatory schnapps drinking and singing. www.kth.se

crispbread’s, salads and the Swedish cheese pie ‘ Vasterbotten’

Vasterbotten Scandinavian chees pie for August crayfish party celebrations

Vasterbotten traditional cheese pie. www.sweetpaulmag.com

“Snapsvisor’ ( traditional drinking songs )  maybe supply lyrics to ‘ Helan Gar’ the traditional  silly drinking song, silly songs always accompany any Scandi celebration, for those that do not know the words there is an english version.

Here is a link to ‘Helan Gar’ traditionally sung, it also has the english version so you sound like you know the words!


Party hats, bibs,napkins,  gaily coloured paper lanterns and bunting…  traditionally decorated with crayfish and smiling moon faces. If you want to make your own, we have this link to download your own DIY crayfish hat like this, stylishly cute we think :



DIY crayfish party hat from seetpaulmag.com for scandinavian crayfish celebration.

DIY Crayfish Party hat download from www.sweetpaulmag.com

If this is your first crayfish party, you may need to brush up on your cracking, slurping and sucking skills to be able to really feast and enjoy these little critters and don’t be shy, it’s a very noisy and messy affair! If you learn one Swedish word for the evening, it has to be… ‘SKAL!’ Swedish for CHEERS, you will be saying this many times throughout the evening and before every shot, it’s a must.  If your going to throw a crayfish party,  and we hope you do…please share your fun with us on our social media and lets us know how it goes.


Main image of the gorgeous tables setting for this crayfish feast is from www.theluckybubble.blogspot.co.uk

SCANDIKITCHEN is the place to go,for all your party needs you can go to



Take a look at this U Tube Video we found of Alicia Vikander on the Jimmy Fallon show, talking about Midsummer and Crayfish party’s, it’s super cool and funny!



Checkout these Crayfish parties in London, and check on Google for crayfish parties 2018 in the UK to see if there is one where you are!