Easter, or Påske as we say in Norway, has always been one of my favourite holidays and I think its mostly because of the relaxed atmosphere & the fact that the sun finally returns. This time of year marks the end of the winter, and is an important time in Norway giving us a chance to celebrate the arrival of Spring after the long and dark winter. For me Easter is all about family & friends, staying home and of course candy! Its a nice time to spend with the people you love, without the fuss that Christmas can bring..
After browsing my Instagram feed these last days I realised that Easter is such a diverse holiday with so many different traditions around the world, but also from family to family. I love reading about different people’s impressions so I thought I would share some of my own traditions around this holiday with you.
When I was young Easter used to be the time when our family would travel to a cabin in the woods and spend our days cross-country skiing & playing in the snow. In the evening we would be doing card-games, sitting in front of the fireplace and listen to the radio while eating our Easter treats. As I got older this tradition changed slightly as I am not as big of a fan of skiing as I used to be. This Easter I went home to Norway for a looong weekend, in fact Norway has the world’s longest Easter holiday. Instead of skiing we went for walks along the beach (yes we do have beaches in Norway!) or in town, and instead of listening to the radio we would be watching crime series on the TV which is now a massive Norwegian Easter tradition.
One of the things that stayed the same, was the Easter egg! In Norway and also the rest of Scandinavia it has always been the chicken & egg that is the symbol of Easter. Eggs symbolise rebirth and chickens are a symbol of fertility. In Norway we get a beautifully decorated cardboard egg which can be opened to reveal a selection of sweets such as chocolate, marzipan and pick’n mix inside. In my family I would always get this egg at the start of the holiday, and it would usually also have a magazine or a couple of small toys to keep me busy the rest of the time.
When it comes to decorations Norwegians tend to use yellow. Yellow candles, napkins and flowers, especially tulips and daffodils, are common things in any Norwegian home at this time. We also use birch tree twigs and branches for hanging ornaments such as painted eggs. The Goat Willows are a very traditional decoration and is a symbol of Easter for many Norwegians. We basically love bringing the outside in, and celebrating Spring time to the fullest.
Easter Sunday in Norway starts with a good Easter breakfast usually consisting of eggs. We boil and dye or paint them before eating to add a bit extra. Eggs in Norway are usually white, and to get them to look yellow we simply boil them with onion skins! This year as an addition I also used these super cute stickers from Tiger. It was an easy & quick way to decorate them around the breakfast table before tucking in.
Now that Easter is over its time to wait for the next noteworthy Norwegian tradition; the national day on the 17th of May!
Do you have any special Easter traditions in your country or home? I would love to hear more so please share!
// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad