Celebrating Easter in Sweden | Undutchables

Celebrating Easter in Sweden

Are you an international living and working in Sweden and perhaps experiencing the Easter celebration in Sweden for the first time? Here is a quick guide on what is happening in Sweden for Easter!

EASTER CELEBRATIONS IN SWEDEN

Easter, In Swedish “Påsk”, prounounced “phh-sk”, is one of the most important holidays in Sweden. How do Swedes celebrate Easter?

There is a Christian history in Sweden and the history has left traces in the names of the holidays.

THE most important Easter days:

Skärtorsdag on the Thursday is the most common start of the Easter weekend, called Maundy Thursday. ”Skär” can mean the color ”pink” or the imperative ”cut”, but of course that’s not what it means here. It’s as archaic as the previous name and means” purge” or ”clean”. It refers to the story about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet before the last supper. However, the most common name is White Thursday.

Easter

Långfredag – Friday, means ”Long Friday”, the English name is Good Friday.

Långfredag used to be a day where no shops, restaurants, theatres – actually nothing – was allowed to be open. Everything was closed. The town seemed dead. Today, those interdicts are broken, and Långfredag is a ”red day” in the calendar, which means that most people are free from work and can frolic in shops, restaurants and enjoy entertainment - but in 2020 don’t forget to keep your distance!

Påskafton means just that: Easter Eve. True to the Swedish tradition to celebrate any given holiday on the day before the holiday, Påskafton is the day when Swedes celebrate Easter. (Swedes celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, Whitsun on Whitsun Eve, Midsummer on Midsummer Eve, and so on.

Påskdagen is of course Easter Sunday.

Annandag Påsk (Easter Monday) would in modern Swedish be called Andra Påskdagen, which translates to ”the second day of Easter”. It’s a red, work-free day.

What are TRADITIONAL EASTER CELEBRATIONS

GODIS! (CANDY, GOODIES)

Easter is when you are allowed to eat a lot of candy, chocolates, and toffee, packed in large brightly colored påskägg, i.e. eggshells of cardboard, plastic or sheet metal; the bigger, the better. That is, kids are constantly sugar-speeded from skärtorsdag until late on påskafton, when the påskägg usually is empty and replenishment from their exhausted parents is unavailable.

Nowadays the Easter Bunnies is also celebrated in Sweden, however that is a tradition adopted from other cultures.

PÅSKRIS (~ EASTER TWIGS)

“Påskris” – is a common celebration already for year, the birch twigs were used for flogging

If you haven’t done so already, skärtorsdag is the day when you cut thin twigs of birch and put in a vase, decorated with feathers or down of bright color.

Påsk HÄXOR (WITCHES)

Skärtorsdag (White Thursday) is the day when witches supposedly travel to Blåkulla (~Blue Hill) to connect with the devil before returning on the night before Easter Sunday. The place Blåkulla seems to exist only in mythology, even if some people refer it to – probably because of the name similarity – Blåkulla, the island Blå Jungfrun (~the Blue Virgin) in the Baltic Sea.

In popular belief, the witches make the journey riding on broomsticks, and on their way they’ll try to snatch children in order to present them to the devil.

This myth seems to have been formed in the 16th and 17th centuries.

PÅSKKÄRrINGAR AND PÅSkkort (~WITCHES AND EASTER LETTERS)

Påskkort, the children make their own cards (or use preprinted cards) to give to people and wish them a happy Easter. Then the children usually get a treat form the person they give the card to. The meaning of the word kärring is actually a dear person, ”a loved one”, but in today’s vernacular, kärring means ”old woman”. And a påskkärring is a witch!

What do Sweeds eat for Easter Funny activity

Eggs! And – more or less the same food is served as on the Christmas buffet and at Midsummer, however the eggs cannot be missed! Eggs, salmon and pickled herring and lamb is also a delicacy to be served and eaten.

A favourite drink is påskmust , similar to Julmust being served at Christmas. This is more consumed more than a normal cola during these periods! Adults usually drink beer and akvavit (except designated drivers, who of course will have to make do with påskmust).

Dinner on Easter Sunday is often a lamb steak, and usually the left overs from the day before.

Fun activities

A fun thing to do is to paint eggs! Boil the eggs (hard boiled) and paint them with, for example water colors! It is a fun activity to do and it can brighten up the Easter table! And, as you need to eat a lot of Eggs – why not color them in fun colors or motives!

Enjoy and Glad Påsk!

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