Kräftskiva / Crayfish Season

It is that time of the year again when Swedes gather around the table in funny paper hats & adult bibs, while slurping loudly on crayfish, singing and drinking snaps. If you are a die hard Swede, August is the month to host a crayfish party, Kräftskiva, and enjoy the last bit of European summer / Australian winter.

By Caroline Brandelius 

Fun facts about crayfish and crayfish parties


Crayfish parties started in the first half of the 20th century. In the beginning it was restricted when and where you could fish for crayfish but in 1994 the rules changed and you could fish crayfish all year around, even though most Swedes prefer to stick to the August celebration.


Besides drinking a lot of snaps and beer with the crayfish it is also tradition to serve a selection of cheeses, pies and crispy bread knäckebröd. If the weather is good the party takes place outside and you decorate with colourful Man-in-the-moon lanterns to light up the dark.


In Sweden there are two species of Crayfish, Signal-crayfish and Flod-crayfish. The last one is normally a little bit more expensive to buy.


Every year we catch around 1 500 tons of crayfish in Sweden. And around 3 000 tons are imported from North America, China and Turkey.


The crayfish pigment is green, blue and brown but when you cook it you kill its pigment. And that’s why the crayfish turn red.


You can tell the difference between a male and a female by their tails and their claws. Females have a wider tail while the males have bigger claws.


Crayfish are rich in omega 3, iron and zinc, it also contains vitamin B12.


The actual word Kräftskiva is associated with the dinner table bordsskiva where you would put all the food and beverages for the party. The word skiva also means party or celebration.