One of the most popular festivals of the Christian community after Christmas, Easter is celebrated across the world with great zeal and enthusiasm. While most countries consider Easter to be a religious occasion, other countries assume it to be more social and festive. The festival also marks the end of the Lent season and the beginning of the spring time. Easter is known as Påsk in Swedish. Easter is more than just a festival - it is a religious occasion that is celebrated with great splendor and glory. The grandeur of the festival is seen from the fact that a week before Easter, the entire country revels in the Eastertide festivities and shops are gaily decorated in festive symbols.
People start cleaning their house and buying new attires for themselves as well as their loved ones. Children dress up in long skirts, colorful headscarves and painted red cheeks resembling Easter witches. They then visit houses in the neighborhood and exchange paintings and drawings with sweets in return. The Swedish households are decorated with tapestries, chicklings and daffodils. Feathers and small decorations are placed on twigs in vases and pots. Small branches and twigs of willow or birch are a common sight in every Swedish house on Easter. The birch twigs remind the people of the suffering that Jesus Christ went through.
On the morning of Good Friday, the Swedish people hit each other with silver birch twigs. It is said that these branches were the inventor of both, Lent and Easter decorated branches. Palm Sunday marks the start of the Easter celebrations in Sweden. On this day, processions are held, with people holding branches of small willows to place before the images of Christ. They revere the day as the success of Christ in entering Jerusalem. The entire country basks in the glory of festivity, with firework display serving as the major attraction in every part of the country. Bonfires also feature in the Eastertide festivity.
There are some Easter superstitions that remain a part of the modern Swedish society. For instance, Swedes believe that the witches and their black magic are active during the week preceding Easter. It is alleged that witches fly off on brooms, on Maundy Thursday, to harmonize with the devil at a place called blåkulla and return the following Sunday. In Sweden, Easter celebration is incomplete without conventional delicacies, like spring lamb, Strömmingsflundror (stuffed herring) and Laxpudding (salmon gratin). While Swedes attend church prayers and mass on Easter, they also look forward to an extended weekend, which gives them an opportunity for family reunion or a vacation by the beaches.
Easter celebrations are held with much fanfare and vigor in Sweden. Go through the article to know more about the festive spirit of Sweden.