Today is really sad. It was beautiful in Stockholm today...the kind of weather that really makes you think "I love this city!" We managed to get out for a little bit, but I have some funny stomach bug or something, so most of the day, I've been sitting on the couch, feeling sick, having a mini-marathon of old Lost episodes. And Stu's so super for taking care of me...I'd want to go run around outside if I were him. The worst is that we're traveling to the Netherlands tomorrow to visit Emre & Patti, and with this bug, I won't be able to eat nearly as many stroopwafels as I had been planning! Ugg.
Anyway, I thought I'd post a little about what we've learned about celebrating Easter (Påsk) in Sweden. First, everyone is off. Off from school, from work, and stores all close for several days. Its like Christmas. Basically, everybody clocks out Wednesday afternoon, and most don't go back until Tuesday (Easter Monday is also a holiday.) For a country that is not particularly devout, they really love their Christianity-based holidays!
Second, it didn't originate as a Christianity-based holiday as one might think. Easter, in fact, was thought to be when witches flew up to Blåkulla (the Blue Hill) to meet the devil. So to honor this old tale, little kids dress up as brightly-colored witches and go door-to-door for candy. Yes, they basically celebrate Halloween on Easter!
Third, Easter is a feasting holiday here. But, you know, Swedish feasts, so a smörgåsbord of sill and pickled herring and ham, potatoes and eggs. And candy! So. Much. Candy. The Swedes eat a lot of it anyway, but Easter is like a free for all. And of course, door to door. And they wash it down with påskmust, a spiced cola made just for the season (at Christmas, we drank julmust...trust me, it's better with rum.)
I think there are more traditions, egg hunts, hanging eggs from tree branches, other strange food possibilities. But we're flying to Holland, so maybe we'll get a better taste of Dutch Easter traditions?