“Påsk” is the Swedish phrase for “Easter” and therefore obviously the perfect word for today’s report about this special holiday. Next to experiencing typical Swedish traditions and a church visit, we also organized special activities in Rapatac during “Påsklov”, the Swedish Easter break.
I would say the Easter time in Sweden starts about one or two weeks before the actual Easter weekend with decorating and along with that getting into the spring spirit. Other from what I know from Germany the school break related to Easter starts all over the country on the Monday before the long weekend. I need to say that I prefer this solution, because then children have the whole week off to decorate, do some activities, and get ready for the Christian holiday.
Because there are many different nationalities and cultures represented in our youth center, besides a few activities related to Easter, we mostly planned events that didn`t include celebrating only one religion. So for example joined us the kids and stuff members from the Rapatac Center in Gävle one day for a big challenge with many fun activities throughout the day. It was an energetic afternoon and tightened our relationships between the youth centers. Also did we organize a trash hunt, during which the kids and we as leaders went through town to clean and most importantly get aware of our environment. Since the weather now is quite amazing this was the perfect opportunity to do something fun and at the same time educational outside. Other than that, as I mentioned before, we had some Easter activities, like a fun egg hunt or art courses for creating decorations and more.
On Friday until the upcoming Monday my work place was closed because of the Easter holiday. As I wrote in my last post, for those days I went back to Germany to surprise some family members. Because of that, I actually didn`t experience this time here in Sweden. But still, I got to see lots of the Easter spirit and also learned about typical traditions and celebrations in our Swedish class, so let me share some of my knowledge:
Already two weeks before Easter I saw the first people decorating houses, shops, and streets with spring flowers, rabbits, chicken, and many other Easter or spring decorations. Something typical are Easter trees, so called “påskris”. At home as much as in public places Swedes use long twigs and put colorful feathers, handcrafted chicken and other types of self-made decorations on it to bring happy spring vibes to all places.
Lots of the crafts that are created at home, in schools, or at other free time facilities are connected to eggs, like coloring hard boiled eggs, painting eggshells, or decorating the Easter table nicely with eggs, yellow theme napkins and many kinds of delicious traditional food. As we experienced ourselves during an Easter brunch this traditional food contains lots of egg dishes, fish, lamb, and delicious side meals. Although you can find and eat this food during the whole Easter time, the main day or evening of celebrating with family and food is on Holy Saturday.
On this day, another ritual practiced in many parts of the country is the “påskbrasor”, Easter fire, that is lit in the evening to get rid of evil spirits. Connected to the bonfire event, the most unique tradition for Swedish Easter probably are the “påskkärring”, the Easter witches. For that children dress up as witches, go in groups from house to house, and wish happy Easter while asking for sweets in return. This usually also takes place on Saturday, or sometimes on Thursday.
In general are sweets a big part of the celebration. As much as the typical Easter dishes, candies from the unique Scandinavian sweet shops, are bought and eaten in huge amounts.
Of course, church services are the main event during this Christian holiday. Almost every day there are times, rituals, and prayers to attend but as in many countries, nowadays it depends a lot on the religious intensity and perception of the family how much church takes part in the celebration. Some people may don`t even go to those services but still celebrate Easter with its traditions. There are also many options for concerts and other events during that season, in churches but also at other places, that many families attend instead.
So, as you can read, there is much going on during Easter season. Some is religious, other is not, and of course it varies from person to person how this time is celebrated. But for sure, when being in Sweden during that time, many things can be experienced and celebrated. As always this country has lots of events to choose from, so that everyone can create their own and unique Easter time.