I originally published this in 2012, when I was living in Sweden as an expat. It gives an overview of the celebration of Påsk (Easter) in Sweden. There are some similarities and some differences from the US.It was first published on April 19, 2012.
Although it is past Easter, I want to share this with my readers. I had hoped to have my blog ready by Easter, but it didn’t work out that way.
In the US, Easter celebrates new life, Spring, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus. Not every US citizen recognizes the resurrection of Jesus as the true meaning of Easter, but it is the prevailing culture.
In Sweden, the majority of Swedes recognize Easter only as a secular holiday. Easter decorations that are common are bare birch branches decorated with colored feathers. Also, brightly decorated paper mache eggs filled with candy are everywhere. They are made in Germany, so they must be throughout Europe. These paper eggs are delightful. As you can see in the picture they are for sale plentifully in the stores. The price translates to $1.92. The candy is not included in these.
I received one, and this candy was interesting. It looks like a fried egg, but it is a soft marshmallow like gum drop type candy.
The tradition of coloring eggs is celebrated in Sweden, but usually not decorated as elaborately as in other European countries.
Looking forward to the Easter bunny is not a tradition in Sweden. The tradition that is common, but thought of as strange to those who are not Swedes, is the Easter Witch tradition for the children. It sounds a lot like Halloween in the US. The children dress as witches, or (hags), and go door to door with a note, or picture to give, with the hopes of getting a sweet or coin, to put in their kettle. The girls and boys dress in oversize clothes, and the girls wear a bandanna on their head, while the boys may wear a black hat. Their cheeks are painted rosey.
This tradition is from the folklore that the witches fly to a mountain in Germany called the Blue Mountain, to meet the devil. This is on Thursday or Friday before Easter. Then when they fly back, on Easter eve, the tradition is to light bonfires, or shoot fireworks to scare the witches off.
The traditional Easter meal is herring, salmon, meatballs, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, other vegetables, and usually lamb. Pies and pastries are often included, and it is set up as a smorgasbord.
Family time is very important at the holiday. The Swedish worker is given time off, starting with Maud Thursday afternoon through the Monday after Easter.
Attendance is down at most Lutheran churches, which had been the state church. However, attendance is up at FREE churches, which include Baptist, Pentecostal, and Salvation Army. In these churches the importance of Easter, and the resurrected Christ is taught.
Which parts of the Swedish Påsk, (Easter) celebration do you like? Are you surprised by any of them? Please comment below. If you are not subscribed to Globe Trottin Granny, why not subscribe? You will find the Subscribe area at the right top column.
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