Swedish village rebuilds giant Easter bonfire after vandal attack

Swedish village rebuilds giant Easter bonfire after vandal attack
The bonfire after being rebuild. The sign, in local dialect, reads 'a person from Smögen never gives up'. Photo: Katarina Schläger
Vandals on Friday night burnt down the traditional Easter bonfire, or ‘påskbrasa’, at the holiday village of Smögen a day early, only for volunteers to rebuild it again in record time.
“We are really surprised it’s possible to do a thing like this,” Cecilia Larsson, the mother of two of the young bonfire builders, told The Local. “But in a bad situation, people here support each other. It’s fantastic.” 
After the fire, the group responsible for the bonfire put out a call for help over Facebook, and local businesses then streamed in all morning with wooden materials for the fire, with as many as 100 volunteers also lending a hand. 
“There were maybe 80 or 100 persons who worked with this today,” she said. “I met a woman who was 100 years old. She didn’t help, but she supported us.” 
Larsson’s sons Axel (17) and Olle (14), and her nephew Florian Schläger (14), were among the young volunteers who had spent hours over the preceding few weeks building up a towering bonfire in the village, which is famed for its fishing cottages and long wooden pier. 
“It’s the tradition here that the young people build it up,” Cecilia Larsson said, adding that most of the volunteers are between 12 and 17 years' old.
”They start to collect Christmas trees after Christmas, and then a few weeks before Easter they start to work on the bonfire, so this was the work of many, many hours.” 
At 3.30am on Friday night, she was woken by a call alerting her to the blaze. She immediately woke up her two sons and the whole family was at the site in a matter of minutes.  
“They were very disappointed, sad and angry,” Larsson said of her sons. “But now they’re very proud and happy.” 
Larsson said she had no idea who had set vandalised the bonfire, but thought that it was possible that someone from a neighbouring village had been attempting to reintroduce the rivalry which once raged around the Easter bonfires. 
“There’s an old tradition out here, from many, many years ago. They had fights between different areas over who could build the highest påskbrasa, and maybe they did then destroy those of the others.” 
Here's Axel and Olle Larsson with their cousin Florian Schläger on top of the original bonfire before it burnt down. Photo: Jörgen Larsson. 
Here are volunteers rebuilding the bonfire after on Saturday morning. Photos: Cecilia Larsson.