Saturday, 7 April 2012

Glad påsk!

Here's a little glimpse into Swedish Easter traditions - I promise you will be surprised!

Perhaps we should start with our Easter mantel piece....

Sickness, short nights and teething prevented the crocheted extravaganza that I had planned but I did manage to achieve a veritable mélange of Swedish, English and French traditions (more on the English and French later).

In Sweden, they don't only have Christmas trees, they also have Easter trees or 'påsk ris'.

The Easter tree is a handful of twigs and sticks (usually birch) which are placed in a vase with coloured feathers attached to the ends.

Swedish 'Easter tree's are decorated with hanging eggs, ornaments and the colourful feathers a bit like this one.

Well, I tried to find feathers everywhere here in France to decorate our påsk ris but just couldn't get any so our tree is slightly more German looking than Swedish especially since some of the eggs were a gift from my German teacher!.

The other eggs on our tree were made by Freddy and I during one of our early morning craft sessions (I'm talking before 7am!).
The religious traditions associated with Easter are of course similar within Christian cultures but Swedish people believe that witches are especially active and their black magic super powerful during Easter week.

On Maundy Thursday (skärtorsdagen) Swedish girls and boys dress up as witches with rosy red cheeks and freckles, long dresses and headscarves and visit their neighbours. Some leave a small decorated card, an 'Easter letter' or sing a song, hoping for a sweet or coin in return.

It is then said that all the witches fly off on brooms to have a big party with the devil at a place called blåkulla (Blu Mountain), returning the following Saturday.

Good Friday (Långfredagen) used to be a day of mourning: everything was closed and only funeral music was played on the radio and religious programs on television.

I'm not one to miss an opportunity to try out a local custom or tradition so I dressed up as a witch myself.....
Ha! I had planned on having a family portrait of us all dressed up as Easter witches but as soon as Henry saw me like this he went absolutely hysterical.  It's actually the first time that I have seen him crying as if he were scared :(  He wouldn't look me in the eye for more than an hour afterwards - sorry Henry.

Anyway.  The last thing to add is that Swedes tend to give paper eggs instead of chocolate ones.

They fill them with sweets or toys and then hide them for the child to find.

I think these eggs look lovely.

Here is my sister in law and her work colleagues as Påskkäring (Easter Witches).


  1. Jennifer in Australia8 April 2012 at 00:32

    It was lovely learning about your Easter traditions and seeing the photos ..They were wonderful...ty for sharing and Happy Easter

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer and Happy Easter to you too!


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