Glad Påsk! What is Easter like in Sweden?

The school programme for the Easter week is usually free or marked as “individual study time”, so it is to your liking to fly to your family or stay in Stockholm. Or, if you are unlucky like me and tickets to your country are 3000 SEK or more, then you stay here. And, frankly, it is not too shabby!

Now, if you are anything like me, you see new things pop up in the supermarkets, or children in the subway dressed up as rag dolls and you are wondering what is this? My good old friend Google helped me find out a few things about what the pillars of Swedish Easter (Påsk) are:

1. Witches 

The children in the subway on Good Thursday were not rag dolls; the were witches. According to Swedish folklore tales, witches flew on broomsticks to dance with the devil at Blåkulla, an imaginary Swedish meadow. On Good Thursday (skärtorsdag), parents dress kids with old clothes and paint their faces with red cheeks and freckles. Some children knock on doors asking for treats, like the American Halloween. So, if you are here and stay in an apartment, make sure to have some candy for Good Thursday, because noone wants to see disapointed kids’ faces.
 lena_granefelt-easter-1057Children dressed up as witches in Sweden. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden

2. Candy

If you stay in Sweden for a few months, you will notice that Swedes LOOOOVE their sweets. They have days for all: the cinnamon bun day, the semla season and more. So holidays without candy cannot be. A sugary drink, Påskmust, suddenly appears in supermarkets and tastes almost like the Christmas soda, Julmust (basically a weird tasting cola, worth a try!). Also, beautifully painted paper egg shells are available in Sweden, usually empty. You fill them up with candy and chocolates for the children and many schools and families organise Easter egg hunts.
A giant egg filled with eggs. Photo: Lola Akinmade/Image Bank Sweden

 3. Feathered twigs

If you notice things like I do, you  might be wondering why on earth there are vases filled with bunches of twigs covered in feathers everywhere, all of a sudden. I found out that Swedes have been decorating small birch tree branches like this since the 1800s. They serve as a reminder of Christ’s sufferring with lashing. Now, they are just part of the traditional Swedish Easter table, as decorative.
IMG_20170411_183703Feathered twigs in the supermarket. Photo: Christina Neofytou

4. Spring (?) Weather

In Easter, the Swedes will go to their cottage houses, and celebrate preferably outside, if it is warm. But, it is more likely in April for the weather to be a bit flaky. One day it might be super sunny and flowers may be blooming and the next it might be snowing. The pictures below were taken on 3 consecutive days, believe it or not:

DSC00374IMG_20170414_172433IMG_20170415_141306Spring, winter and back to uhmm… Autumn? Photos: Christina Neofytou

Staying in Stockholm for Easter break is not a bad decision and I would highly recommend it, if you can handle being away from your family a bit longer. Here’s to hoping you get better weather than I did this year!

‘Till the next time! Glad Påsk!!!

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Blog Featured Image: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/Image Bank Sweden

2 thoughts on “Glad Påsk! What is Easter like in Sweden?

    1. Oh wow! I heard from friends at Public Health Econ that they had half a week of break. We got lucky, then!! Glad you liked it Paula and glad Pask!

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