Saturday 11 April 2009

Easter Saturday in Sweden

Like most holidays, Swedes prefer to celebrate Easter on the eve, known as Påskafton in Swedish, rather than on the day, Easter Sunday, Påskdagen in Swedish.

In certain parts of Sweden the custom of äggapickning was observed. People gathered on Easter morning with hardboiled eggs in their pockets. Two players stood opposite each other, one holding his egg still and the other using his for attack. There were strict rules - end to end, never the sides. The winner was the one whose egg remained unbroken after the assault.

People decorate their houses with the Easter colors; yellow, green and white. They put yellow chickens with feathers of different colors all over their houses.

Eggs and herring, sometimes lamb, are the characteristic traditional Swedish meal for Easter eve and they very nearly represent Påsk all by themselves. They are part of the very traditional Swedish feast smörgåsbordet. Another popular dish on the smörgåsbord is Jansson's frestelse - Jansson's temptation - a potato gratin that has anchovies in it.

Bonfires are lit in some regions of Sweden in the afternoon. Some say they are to scare off the evil influences of the Easter witches on their Blåkulla journey. Others take the opportunity to clear gardens for the coming spring. For some regions, including the Stockholm area, the bonfires will happen instead on Valborgsmässafton or Walpurgis Night at the end of April.

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