I had no idea how many Swedish traditions there were until I arrived in Stockholm. There are so many in fact, that there is an entire 160-page book dedicated to them. We are having a lot of fun discovering them and deciding which ones we will take with us when we move back home.
One of traditions that I’ve embraced and was aware of long before I knew that we were relocating here, is the Påskris, also known as the Swedish Easter Tree. It’s simply birch branches with feathers wired to them and here it’s a seasonal decoration that’s as common as a Christmas tree. Sometimes eggs can be hung from them, but quite often, they are left to their simplicity.
I read before that the colourful decorations were to celebrate the end of a long dark winter and to welcome the spring. Delving a little deeper, it seems that no one is entirely sure of its origins. They believe that they are a bunch of older customs that have come together into something modern. One of them was bringing birch branches into the warmth of the home so that tiny leaves would sprout for Easter to create a sense of spring. Then there was the very old tradition (thankfully not used today) of Good Friday whippings. Yep you read that correctly! The first person to rise on Good Friday had the joy of whipping the other members of the household who were still lazy in bed. It was really a symbolic gesture to remind people of Christ’s suffering. I have to say I prefer the more modern tradition of the Påskris!
Being here, I found that while there are a lot of the super colourful varieties around, a lot of the florists were actually selling birch branches with more muted colours, so I decided to go for that this year.
Do you decorate for Easter?
Wishing you a lovely long weekend full of chocolate, family and friendships. Stay safe and Glad Påsk!