20 April 2010

Easter excursion - part 2

The high age of the university in Uppsala hints to the city's importance for the Christian church in Sweden, and it doesn't come a big surprise that Uppsala also boasts the largest cathedral in all of Scandinavia.

Inside the cathedral we finally at long last got to meet the king whose name we've been coming across over and over again here in Sweden: Gustav Vasa.

But Uppsala cathedral isn't just a place with a long history - it is also a place where new ideas are welcomed.

The collectomat

18 April 2010

Easter excursion - part 1

The guy depicted here on the left is the first your eyes land upon when exiting the train station in Uppsala - and that was where we chose to go on a day trip during Easter.

Uppsala is perhaps most widely known for its university which is the oldest university in all of Scandinavia. The city did bear signs of a healthy population of students. For example, we were far from the only young people not with Swedish as native language to sit down by the banks of the Fyris river on this sunny (but relatively cool) afternoon to enjoy a refreshment.

07 April 2010

Swedish Easter

Already last summer we were wondering about the differences between Danish and Swedish traditions: In Sweden there is a bonfire for Walpurgis Night instead of for midsummer - and this quite without burning witches. This year we have concluded that this is in part because the Swedish witches are sent off to Blocksberg already around Easter. However, this isn't symbolised by burning witches. Rather little witches appear equally prominently as eggs and chickens in the Swedish Easter decorations - and supposedly kids are also dressed up as witches to go around trick-or-treating (although this last bit we haven't seen for ourselves). This latter tradition would seem to be closely linked to another great and very visible Swedish Easter tradition: Easter Candy!

Around Easter all major supermarket chains dump the price of pick-and-mix candy from the already cheap Swedish level to about 30 SEK/kg (yep, that's 30 Swedish kroner pr. kilogram - less than $2 for a lb of candy). This of course also means that in Sweden an Easter egg is most commonly not a large chocolate egg but instead a large cardboard egg filled with pick-and-mix candy. The 'Caramel King' also argues that the traditional brush of twigs should be decorated with Easter candy - but most of those we have seen have been decorated with coloured feathers. Both feathers and witches make it all quite reminiscent of Danish Shrovetide celebrations - another example of a mix-up in the pagan Nordic spring traditions.

Just to add to the confusion we decided that in our little home witches, feathers and egg hunting should be replaced by an omelette in Easter colours and a home-baked 'hen'.

05 April 2010

Easter weather

After an long winter it was nice to see these this past Saturday

After enjoying an Easter holiday with lots of sunshine and temperatures approaching 10 degrees (C) it was a bit of a shock to wake up to this sight on Easter Monday:

View from our living room this morning

Now we just have to hope all the flowers make it through anyway..

This is the first time since New Year that we see these two with flowers on