• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Local List
Six super Swedish family Easter traditions
Swedish children celebrating Easter. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden

Six super Swedish family Easter traditions

The Local · 26 Mar 2016, 09:00

Published: 26 Mar 2016 09:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2016 09:00 GMT+01:00

1. Witches 
 
Easter (Påsk) is a secular event in Sweden and the fact that many children dress up as witches gives a clear indication that the origins of the spring festival predate Christianity. Folklore alleges that witches flew off on broomsticks to dance with the devil at a legendary meadow named Blåkulla. On Maundy Thursday (skärtorsdag), you'll spot kids with painted faces and broomsticks. Some knock on doors asking for treats, much like American children do at Halloween.
 

Children dressed up as witches in Sweden. Photo: Ulf Lundin/Image Bank Sweden
 
2. Giant candy eggs
 
Whereas other countries make do with branded chocolate eggs over Easter, beautifully painted paper shells are available in Sweden, crammed with candy goodies. Many schools and families organise Easter egg hunts, giving children clues and riddles to help them track the sweets down.
 

A giant egg filled with eggs. Photo: Lola Akinmade: Image Bank Sweden
 
3. Real eggs
 
Swedes are obsessed with dairy at all times of the year but eggs are a breakfast staple over Easter as well as featuring on many a midday 'smörgåsbord' (platter) with toppings including caviar and and shrimp-based sauses.
 

A Swedish breakfast often includes eggs and fish. Photo: Jakob Fridholm/Image Bank Sweden
 
4. Fish
 
Eggs often complement the pickled herring that is at the heart of most Swedes’ Easter meals, while others opt for salmon or dill. Another popular dish is 'Janssons Frestelse' which translates to ‘Jansson’s Temptation’. It is a creamy casserole including potatoes onions and anchovies. All this will frequently be washed down by a glass (or three) of Swedish snaps.
 

Pickled herring and schnaps. Photo: Joel Wåreus/Image bank Sweden
 
5. Summer houses
 
Story continues below…
While most Swedes live in towns and cities, Easter is the first long weekend of the year and for many it provides an excuse to enjoy the country's famous nature. Summer holiday cottages are not just the preserve of the rich in Scandinavia, so plenty of people escape their urban apartments and join relatives for some respite in the forest or by the coast.
 

Summer houses in Småland. Photo: Tony Töreklint/Image Bank Sweden
 
6. Feathered twigs
 
If you're invited to a Swedish lunch at a summer house (lucky you) or elsewhere, you might be wondering why on earth there are vases filled with bunches of twigs covered in feathers. In fact, Swedes have been decorating small birch tree branches like this since the 1800s. These originally served as a reminder of Christ’s suffering and children would pretend to lash each other with them on Good Friday. Nowadays the feathers tend to be brightly coloured and tend to remain on the table.
 

Feathers at Easter. Photo: Lena Granefelt: Image Bank Sweden

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Nepal's Sherpas rebuild Swedish mountain paths
Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Photo: Stockholms Universitet

Nepalese sherpas have been called in to improve hillwalking safety on Sweden's highest mountain Kebnekaise.

23 people tricked into renting the same Malmö apartment
Sweden's housing market is notoriously tricky. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

"I have never felt so stupid and so conned."

Sweden on standby to help earthquake-hit Italy
Rescue workers search through the debris. Photo: AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi

Swedish authorities are ready, if asked, to quickly assist Italy as it recovers from a deadly earthquake.

We harmed Sweden's teachers and should apologize: prof
A tired pupil at a school in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

"The situation is very worrying," says Professor Jonas Linderoth.

US keeper kicked off team for calling Swedes cowards
Hope Solo made her comments after Sweden knocked the US team out of the Olympics. Photo: Eugenio Savio/AP

The US team will be Hope-less for six months.

Five must-see cultural events in Sweden this weekend
Like The Bridge? You'll love one of the events we've picked out for this weekend. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

The summer is almost over but Sweden saved the best for last with these cultural events this weekend – including one that will make The Bridge fans happy.

Was there a secret plot to kill Swedish ex-UN chief?
Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN's Secretary General, pictured months before his death in 1961. Photo: TT

Ban Ki-moon wants to find out.

Joe Biden to arrive in Sweden for refugee talks
Stefan Löfven meets Joe Biden during a visit to Washington in March 2015. Photo: Monica Enqvist/Government Offices of Sweden

US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Stockholm on Wednesday evening ahead of talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that are expected to focus on migration and refugees.

Boy who attacked goalkeeper 'bet thousands' on game
Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

A 17-year-old boy who stormed the pitch and attacked a goalkeeper in Sweden’s top division earlier this month has claimed he had placed a large bet on the result.

Furious fireman lashes out at Malmö car arsonists
Firefighters battle a blaze in Malmö earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A fireman in Malmö has won praise across Sweden for calling out arsonists on the “bullshit” reasons behind a spate of car fires in the southern city.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,361
jobs available