All Saints' Day traditions
While Americans are preparing their costumes and Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, Swedes are more likely planning a day off from work, eating together and gathering candles in anticipation of “Allhelgonahelgen” (All Saints’ weekend). Although Halloween is now a secular observance, it shares religious origins with All Saints’ Day traditions: In 731 AD, Nov. 1 became the day to remember saints of the church, eventually recognizing Nov. 2 as a day dedicated to remember all the dead — All Souls’ Day. In Sweden during the 1900s, people began putting lighted candles on the graves of loved ones on All Saints’ Day, and now the entire weekend is a time of reflection and remembrance, with cemeteries full of light from candles and lanterns placed on graves, sometimes in the snow, sometimes under a full moon. Halloween as a celebration never really took off in Sweden: No, Halloween never got established as the big holiday most...

More smoking bans proposed for Sweden
Sweden’s Folkhälsomyndigheten (the Public Health Agency) has proposed a bill for the cessation of smoking in public outdoor spaces. In 2012, the government requested a review of secondhand smoke, and with its results now come the proposal to make more public environments non-smoking zones. No amount of secondhand smoke is considered harmless, so Folkhälsomyndigheten recommends that places popular with children, playgrounds, entrances to public buildings, sports facilities, outdoor dining areas, bus and train stops be smoke-free. A total ban on smoking inside restaurants has been in effect in Sweden since 2005 and is nowadays considered the norm. If this new proposal goes into effect, Sweden will be following in the footsteps of Spain, New York City, France, India, Ireland and Italy, which have introduced various outdoor smoking bans since 2011.

‘The fishing gods smile’ over surprise catch
Magnus Fagerström was recently fishing for trout with a friend in Lake Ljungan, near Sundsvall on Sweden’s east coast. With a fly on the hook, the rod suddenly turned, and Fagerström, 38, knew he had something special on the line. “I wrestled with him for 40 minutes, he said. He saw that it wasn’t a trout but a giant spawning salmon. "It was like pulling up a small Volkswagen." When the fish was landed he took a couple pictures and measured the salmon: 50 inches (127 centimeters) long and 55 pounds (25 kilos). But that’s not even the biggest salmon caught in Ljungan, which is regarded as one of the best lakes for trout fishing. In 1992, a 72-pound (32.5 kilos) salmon was caught there. When they’re that big, “You know the fish are doing well.” Fagerström let his fish back into the river. “It was great fun," he said, "but this was a bonus fish. It was spawning. Sometimes the fishing gods smile a little extra on us.”