Happy Easter / Glad Påsk
Easter is a holiday that is celebrated all over the world; celebrated in many ways. There are traditions of which we can not find the origins and there are traditions of which we know exactly where they originated. For instance, in the US there is the Easter Bunny who brings to every home and garden, Easter eggs. These are brightly colored eggs which are not just brought to the homes and gardens of waiting children, but hidden for the fun of the very famous Easter Egg Hunt. These Easter Egg Hunts take place in private homes, indoors or outdoors, all depending on particular situations. You can find elaborate Easter Egg Hunts in many of the top hotels in the US along with the famous Easter Brunch in which everyone attend in their best attire. People arrive after they have attended Easter Mass, if they are religious, or it is sometimes just a family tradition to go. You can find entire families at Easter Brunch all over the US either at public venues or private homes. Sometimes, depending on the age of the children, they assist in the dying of eggs for the Easter Bunny to find in the early hours of the morning and hide. Sometimes, even though children have helped with the dying of eggs, there is a surprise waiting for them in the morning. That could be a plastic egg filled with sweets or a toy. A stuffed bunny always makes a presence in the home on Easter morning. Easter is a fun day for all , religious and secular alike.
Sweden, my new home, has very special traditions for Easter or Påsk. Easter is one of the biggest holidays in Sweden for the religious and secular, nearly as important and sacred as Christmas/Jul. The children of Sweden also help in decorating the eggs for Easter. There are no Easter Egg Hunts and there is no Easter Bunny in this culture.
Many of the modern-day Easter traditions in Sweden date back to pre-Christian days. Children dress as witches. the tradition says that in pagan times, the witches flew off on their brooms to dance with the devil at a sacred place known as Blåkulla. According to folklore, during the pagan times, when the witches flew to Blåkulla, there were fires set across the country. Bonfires could be seen everywhere. They were done to protect the witches on their travels. There was the belief that evil spirits would harm them and it was important for them to reach their destination unharmed. This tradition still stands today, bonfires are lit around Sweden for the days leading up to Easter Sunday. Thursday proceeding Easter Sunday, the children of Sweden dress in witches costumes that they make at home. They are called påskkärringar which literally means Easter hags. They paint their faces and carry a broom and some kind of container, a coffee pot or some kind of tin or basket and knock on neighbors doors. they receive a treat.
As a family celebration, there is usually a big dinner or an afternoon meal of lamb and of course eggs. This big family meal is not eaten on Easter Sunday, but the day before, known as Påkafton, Easter Eve.
One more thing I must speak on and that is the Easter Tree known as Påskris. This is usually birch branches with beautiful colored feathers attached to them. This is one tradition I have never really been able to understand or find the origin. I do know the birch tree and its branches symbolize new life and new beginnings for the Spring. I think in some way it celebrates new life. Branches are brought into the home to decorate or the trees outside are decorated. It really is different and beautiful at the same time.
As a couple with different traditions, my husband and I embrace each others culture and traditions. This makes for a very interesting home during the holidays, especially!
A peek at Easter in Sweden…
Now a peek at Easter/Påsk at Gullringstorp…
However you and your family celebrate this holiday, we hope that you have a wonderful day!
HAPPY EASTER / GLAD PÅSK