Easter in Norway

The Norwegian’s idea of having a god påske consists of hiding away up in the mountains and enjoying the last available good snow for skiing in the early spring sunshine.

easter.jpgEaster is one of Norway’s biggest holidays, just as big as Christmas. Norwegians celebrate it all week with parties, family time and mountain hikes. A Norwegian Easter vacation offers plenty of opportunities for winter sports and good company. Most people have at least a week off so the possibilities are countless. Hotels, chalets and cabins are packed with people intent on having a good time, whatever the weather might be. It can be said that the entire country of Norway is shut down during the week of Easter in order to enjoy the holiday and the transition of seasons with family, friends and nature.

A couple of weeks before Easter, Norwegian schoolchildren start preparing for the holidays by decorating eggs, making little chicks and other Easter-time decorations along with the typical consumption of candy and chocolate bunnies.

The Easter celebrations typically start on Palm Sunday which is the weekend before Easter Sunday. School children usually have that next week off so parents will generally take the entire week off as well. Most people do all their Easter shopping well in advance. It is wise to stock up on food early especially if the family hytte is the holiday destination.Påskeaften, Easter Eve on Holy Saturday is celebrated as the big day of parties and celebration. Children get to open their Easter eggs filled with candy, families organize ski races and hikes in the mountains and the biggest meal of the week concludes the busy day with an Easter lamb or chicken.

Easter Sunday gets underway with a special breakfast at the family hytte or home followed by church. Breakfast eggs, especially colored ones, are found on the breakfast plate and it is common to bake homemade Easter bread for the Sunday celebration. Decorations of pastel colored Easter bunnies, chickens, and eggs cover the table to set the mood.

Except for the TV stations and other public services, Norway gets pretty quiet. There are no newspapers, no mail, little public transportation and no shopping during the days leading up to Easter. Up in the mountains though is where you will find the hustle and bustle of vacationers and regular hytte goers. No Easter holiday is complete without the popular Påskekrim (crime) novel.

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