Swedish word of the day: påsk

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: påsk
Easter is coming up. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Happy påsk!


The Swedish word for Easter, påsk, may well be recognisable to you if you speak another European language. Unlike in English, but like other Swedish words for festivals, months, and weekdays, it isn't capitalised. 

It's a relative of French Pâques, Italian Pasqua, Spanish Pascua, Romanian Paşti, Dutch Pasen and Russian Pascha (Paskha/Пасха), to name a few.

These words all date back to the Greek word Πάσχα (Pascha), which is linked to the Hebrew word Pesach meaning "to pass over". The word pascha was adopted by Latin as the name of the Christian holiday, which became páskar in Old Norse.

  • Don’t miss any of our Swedish words and expressions of the day by downloading our new app (available on Apple and Android) and then selecting the Swedish Word of the Day in your Notification options via the User button

Although the English name Easter has a different origin (from Ēostre, the name of a goddess linked with springtime), you will still find relatives of påsk in English dialects, including Pace in Scotland and northeastern England, and Pask in Cornish.


So now that you know where the word comes from, how to use it? 

Happy Easter is glad påsk, and you will also find it in lots of festive compound words: påskhelgen (the Easter weekend), påsklov (Easter holiday/break), påskägg (Easter egg), påskgodis (Easter sweets), påskhare (Easter bunny) and påskmust (a fizzy drink in Sweden sold around Easter and spring time).

This year, Easter Saturday, which is the main day of celebrations in Sweden, falls on March 30th.


Firar du påsk?

Do you celebrate Easter?

Påskharen delar ut påskägg under påsken

The Easter bunny gives out Easter eggs at Easter

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is available to order. Head to to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

John Sheridan 2024/03/26 14:50
Scots is also not an English dialect, but a separate Germanic language descended from the language of the Angles.
John Sheridan 2024/03/26 14:50
The Cornish language was actively suppressed by the English in the 16th century and never fully recovered. The Cornish reaction to such repressive activities by Westminster and the throne, has shaped the political landscape in Cornwall. Thus, today’s language revival has a strong separatist political element to it. Your statement that Cornish is a dialect of English would certainly evoke a strong negative reaction among some Cornish people.
John Sheridan 2024/03/26 14:48
Thanks for your article re the Swedish word "påsk." I am not only of Scandinavian descent but also of Cornish descent and have spent many years studying the Cornish language. It is true that the Cornish word for "Easter" is "pask," but please note that Cornish is NOT a dialect of English but is rather a Celtic language closely related to Welsh and Breton.

See Also