Celebrating Easter- The Lapland way!

Happy Easter everyone! Or as we say in Sweden, Glad Påsk! Here in Melbourne the city feels strangely deserted for having more than 3.5 millions inhabitants. Most people have taken the opportunity of the long weekend to go camping with family and friends, fire up the barbie (bbq), and have a beer or several Yeh pretty much the same as any other holiday in this country…Myself I’m enjoying my last few days in the city, meeting up with friends, working, and trying to organize myself for my upcoming travels….If I would be at home in Arjeplog on the other hand, this is what it would look like…

Best time of year!

While in other countries Easter is specifically a religious holiday, it has become a secular one in Sweden. But that doesn’t mean, that for a lot of us, it is nearly as sacred as Christmas. We do love our traditions. Come Easter we decorate our homes with birch twigs with colourful feathers and put them into vases, both inside the house and outside in the yard.

Traditional Swedish Easter decoration

On Skärtorsdagen (Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday) all the kids (and sometimes adults) dress up as påskkärringar (Easter hags). It is a more than 200-year-old tradition evolving from old Swedish folklore. The kids put on rags and old clothes, aprons, scarfs and too-big skirts, paint their cheeks red with black freckles and go door to door wishing people a Happy Easter giving away hand-made Easter cards hoping for some treats to put in their copper kettle. Although I have a recollection from my glory days as a påskkärring that we sometimes also gave away candy. Beside the copper kettle it is also essential for a påskkärring to carry around a broom, on which she later can fly away to Blåkulla, to meet the devil.

Swedish Easter hag

Easter marks the start of spring, well depending where in the country you live, and your definition of spring. But the days are definitely getting longer, and the sun is starting to warm up. In the South the tulips may have started to bloom but up in Lapland, where I live they are months away. Instead we are enjoying what we believe to be the absolute best time of year. And we are doing it outdoors with friends and family. And if the weather happen to be shit, well then we put on some more clothes and suck it up.

Winter in Lapland

Most families up north own at least one snowmobile. In our household there are currently three. And you can sure have a lot of fun with them…And getting stuck or braking down somewhere in the middle of nowhere is very much a part of it.

Easter in Sweden

Getting stuckBesides being the main hobby for people it is also an important form of transportation and used in the day-to-day life. And they come in a size to fit even the smallest…

Snowmobile

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Easter fun

Lake Hornavan

Lake Hornavan

 

Skiing

Skiing Arjeplog

Besides skiing- downhill, cross-country, and sometimes kite skiing we also love to do a bit of ice fishing. First you need to shovel away the snow to get down to the ice, than you start drilling a hole, or bribe someone else to… After that it is all about patience, which is why I’ve never been very successful… If you are celebrating Easter weekend up north, which of course you will now after reading about how great it is, you’ll be sure to find plenty of ice fishing competitions around. Some more serious than others…Myself I’ve never manage to win a single one…my older brother on the other hand still likes to brag about his only win, back in 1995…

Drilling a hole in the ice

Catch of the day!

But maybe most importantly, and just as any holiday -let’s be honest, Easter means food, lots and lots of food. And most of the meals are being made on the open fire and eaten outside, Hamburgers, sausages, grilled sandwiches, Soavas (traditional Sami, salted and smoked reindeer meet. Delicious just as it is with fried potatoes and mustard, or in a kebab. Yes everything just tastes better when it is made under an open fire! We’ve even started making waffles outside now…yummy!

Easter

Easter lunchWinter love!

 

Easter treatsThat is not all we eat though…we also have a traditional Easter Smörgåsbord. Sort of like a smaller version of the big Christmas dinner, but the essentials are still there. Pickled herring, cured and smoked salmon, Jansson’s temptation, fish roe and eggs lots of eggs, which it is custom to hand paint before eating. This is all accompanied by Påskmust, a non alcoholic beverage that’s been on the marked for the past 100 years and is a given on every Swedes table. At Christmas it is sold as Julmust, the secret recipe that contains hops, malt and about 30 other ingredients is told to be the same, personally though I’ve always thought that they tastes slightly different…

 

What does Easter means to you? Do you have any Easter traditions? 

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2 thoughts on “Celebrating Easter- The Lapland way!

  1. i am dying to make a trip up to northern sweden. it’s crazy to be here and to not have seen the northern part. i have heard, and can see from your photos, that is beautiful!

    the easter weekend in norrköping was beautiful! spring is definitely working on arriving. no blooms anywhere, but by valborg, things will be different. 🙂

    i took care of following all the traditions, as usual, here in sweden, while you were away. 🙂 glad påsk!

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