19.20 Onsdag, 27 Mars, 2013
Glad Påsk means ‘Happy Easter’ in Swedish! Although Easter isn’t for a few more days, I’m posting this now because I’m going to be out of town tomorrow – I’ll be in Italy for the next week! Since I’m not going to be in Sweden, I won’t be able to see the Swedish version of Easter. However, I learned a little about it in my Swedish class today, so I’m going to share that here.
Although Swedish people are not very religious, they love Easter because they get two days off from work. The official Easter holidays in Sweden are Good Friday (Långfredagen – ‘Long Friday’), Easter Sunday (Påskdagen – ‘Easter Day’), and Easter Monday (Annandag påsk – ‘Second day of Easter’). However, for many Swedish people, Easter starts on Thursday or even Wednesday, because they love to get outside as soon as possible this time of year, when it’s finally starting to warm up and the sun is making its way back to the northern hemisphere.
Another reason that Swedes love Easter is of course because of the candy. As Sweden is one of the highest consumers of candy per capita in the world, Easter is a great time for the Swedes. For the most part, the candy is pretty standard – chocolate eggs and bunnies, for example. It is very common for the candy to be put inside giant cardboard eggs that are decorated – they are much fancier than the little plastic eggs we use in the US!
Easter in Sweden is also associated with what is called the påskbord, which is a smörgåsbord that you eat on Easter (påsk). A smörgåsbord is a traditional Swedish buffet-style feast that is prepared for special occasions, and common dishes in a påskbord include lamb and eggs.
Sweden also has some rather strange Easter traditions. The traditional Easter decoration is a thing called a påskris, which literally means ‘Easter stick.’ Basically, all it is is a birch twig with colorful feathers attached to the end.
Probably the strangest thing about Easter in Sweden is what occurs on Holy Thurdsay. It has absolutely nothing to do with the washing of feet – rather, it’s more like Halloween. There is an old myth in Sweden that just before Easter, all the witches in Sweden (called påskkärringar) would get on their broomsticks and flee the country to go to a place called Blåkulla (‘Blue Mountain’), where they would engage in evil activities with the devil (Djävulen). So, to celebrate this, all the little children in Sweden dress up as påskkärringar and go door-to-door asking for godis (candy). Trick-or-treating is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think about Easter, but in Sweden, this is what happens! Det är lite konstigt…