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'.

No comments: