Scandi Easter traditions
As the days get a little longer and fresh shoots of life emerge from the earth, we look to Scandi Easter traditions and rituals that celebrate the welcoming of a new season.
It’s not all daffodils and Easter eggs. Scandinavian culture focuses so beautifully on good food and good company, which is something many of us can appreciate.
The last of the snow
Being further north than the UK, many places throughout Scandinavia are covered in snow throughout the winter, and so the landscape changes dramatically in the spring.
In Norway especially, the last ski trip of the year is an occasion that’s marked around Easter (when the snow rapidly disappears) with family, friends and a particular chocolate bar called Kvikk-Lunsj.
While you may not be waving goodbye to inches of snow on the ground, we can all take a moment to appreciate warmer temperatures and the changing scenery around us.
Danish letter writing: gækkebreve
A very sweet tradition, gækkebreve are “snowdrop letters” made by Danish children, often intricately written on paper snowflakes with a puzzle to help the recipient figure out who the writer is. Each letter is given with a snowdrop – the first flower of the year. Friends and family guess who the letter is from, and if they can’t, the writer is owed a chocolate egg. If they do guess, the recipient gets a chocolate egg for their efforts!
Easter eggs, delivered by witches
In Sweden, Easter eggs are made from cardboard or papier mache, and filled with sweets and chocolates. With a slightly unexpected twist, eggs are given out by children dressed up as witches! With homemade costumes and handmade cards given as ‘payment’ to the witches, this can be a whole community affair, as well as within family gatherings.
Never ones to get too excited before the big event, Swedes mostly buy their treats on Maundy Thursday, and they don’t scrimp on the quantities!
As well as updating textiles and home décor, many Scandinavian homes will also install an Easter tree, or Påskris, during the spring. Branches are collected from the garden, and decorated with painted eggs, feathers and other brightly coloured ornaments.
For the Danes, flowers are an important signal that life is returning and spring is on its way! Erantis (winter aconite) and Vintergækker (snowdrops) are the first blooms of the year, followed quickly by Påskelilje (daffodils) in time for Easter. Whether they’re thriving in the garden or arranged around the home, expect to see some fresh florals as part of Easter celebrations.
And the Easter table
It wouldn’t be a Scandi celebration without a table to be proud of! Think flowers, candles, and seasonal table linens to get things started. And then add beautiful breads, preserves and excellent coffee.
As it’s Easter, eggs are a big part of the seasonal food selection, with quiches, egg coffee, and special pancakes served with gusto.
Get inspired by Scandi Easter traditions! How will you celebrate this year?