~* Easter nowadays *~

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The week before or after Easter weekend, kids are free from school. Some families rent a cabin in the mountains and do some skiing or go on a charter trip down south to the sun.

Many people like to place birch twigs in a vase indoors a couple of weeks before Easter, so that they have time to bud. In Easter week, these twigs are decorated with brightly colored feathers, chickens, small fake eggs, or painted blown-out real ones. Many kids get to create such decorations in school.

Daffodils symbolize Easter more than any other flower here in Sweden. We keep them in pots and vases indoors, and plant them in the garden. When we are lucky, they bloom just in time for Easter, and it sure is a pretty sight.

Easter begins with Maundy Thursday, when the children dress up as Easter hags and go around knocking doors in the neighbourhood (many kids do it on Easter Saturday instead). They are often given candy or money - not unlike the kids at Halloween in US. They are usually dressed in long skirts and cover their heads with shawls (both girls and boys). Many kids paint their lips and cheeks red and bring a broomstick and a kettle, where they keep the gifts they receive. Some give away Easter cards they have drawn themselves.

Good Friday (Långfredag) is a public holiday and commemorates the day Jesus died on the cross, according to the Christian belief. Until not very long ago, all amusement places were closed to mark the occasion, and kids weren't allowed to play. Maybe that is why this day is called 'Long Friday' in Swedish... ;o))

On Easter Eve (Påskafton), many families and friends get together and eat special food: Eggs, pickled herring, lamb and something similar to the Christmas 'smorgasbord'. Yum! Salted salmon (rimmad lax) is another common feature. This probably derives from when Sweden was a Catholic country and meat was forbidden on Good Friday.

This is also the day when the children usually get their Easter Eggs, filled with candy and sometimes small toys. Many parents hide the eggs and let the kids look for them. Children who didn't dress up as hags on Thursday usually do it this day instead.

Easter Day (Påskdagen) is a national flag day here in Sweden, and both Easter Day and Easter Monday (Annandag Påsk) are public holidays. Other than that, there's not much to tell. Lots of rest and good food... :-)

Happy Easter - Glad Påsk!

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