We have just spent our first Easter in Sweden (Påsk), and I would like to share with you a little about what Easter in Sweden is like compared to back in the UK, and whether or not we have fallen in love with yet another part of Sweden’s culture. Easter back in the UK for us, was always a mix of Scandinavian traditions and English ones, with me having my Norwegian background, so I was hoping we’d blend in OK with Easter in Sweden, and not find it too much of a culture shock!
First of all the decorating of our home. We have always hung little wooden, glass, or painted eggs onto branches around our home. This is a Norwegian tradition I have always done in our UK home, but has become increasingly more popular the past few years in the UK as well. I was delighted to find that it is no different at Easter in Sweden. They adorn their branches (specifically birch, although if you are like me you just chop what you have on hand in the garden!), and also very often add feathers onto the branches too. Originally they were too serve as a reminder of Christ’s suffering. We have them placed on our fireplace, our table, a nice big vase on the side, and then the children have theirs to decorate in their bedrooms too.
We also hang eggs in the windows, which are visible both from inside and from outside, and make the home look cosy and inviting.
The tradition of chocolate is slightly different too. There is definitely still plenty of it, but instead of masses of foil wrapped Easter eggs, here in Sweden you have a beautifully decorated paper shell of an egg (available in various sizes, but beware they hold a lot more than you think!) filled with candy. Although there is still a lot of candy available, I like this idea, as it is a lot more simple, and the children are less saturated with an abundance of chocolate Easter eggs, that you then spend the following months trying to let them eat without feeling guilty for them having so much chocolate! They are very pretty, and best of all reusable 😉 Of course, we had an Easter egg hunt in the garden too!
Eggs (the chicken variety) and fish feature heavily on the food side of the celebrations. Eggs for breakfast, eggs on open sandwiches, and various fish dishes including pickled herring (one of my mother’s favourites I’ve never quite been able to adopt!), all washed down with some good strong Swedish snaps. For us, although we had the eggs for breakfast, we celebrated with some lovely roast lamb. This was particularly special as we have a sheep farm here on the island, and the children are allowed to visit whenever they want to (the farmer is happy even if he is not there), and you can go into the barn and stroke the lambs and sheep. Our lamb meat was given to us as a gift from the farmer, and we can say it is so delicious. There is something really lovely about eating produce that is only a ten minute walk from our home too, and knowing how they lived and were reared (although I’m a wuss and don’t think too much about the gruesome bit, although we acknowledge it to the children).
Many children dress up as witches at Easter in Sweden, and on Maundy Thursday (skärtorsdag), you’ll spot children with face paints on and broomsticks. Some will be knocking on doors asking for treats, a bit like in the UK at Halloween. We were in the UK for this day, so missed it, although I think my trio would have loved it. It’s also the first long weekend of the year, with potentially warmer weather, that people head out to their summer houses. We are lucky that our new home is in a place that people would consider is somewhere to have a summer house, so we can stay in the comfort of our home and enjoy our surroundings 🙂
So, yes we have thoroughly enjoyed our first Easter in Sweden 🙂 Be sure to check out the adventure we went on for Easter Day, as it was very special, and very Swedish. It will follow tomorrow. We hope you enjoyed your Easter as much as we did!