Easter in Scandinavia
The Nordic countries have a lot of special Easter traditions, also from a decorative point of view, so just like at Christmas also at Easter there are decorations that recur year after year, and most of them are DIY! Here we talk more about Finnish traditions for obvious reasons but they differ little from one country to another.
Let's start with the most fun thing: hand-painted eggs. You have to empty them first, and the little hole (s) have to be planned first on the basis of the intention how to use them. Very often small holes are made both above and below each single egg and then blown on the other side, emptying the inside on a previously prepared bowl. In any case, only your imagination will be the limit for decorating eggs, and it is a fun activity done together with the whole family.
Traditionally, willow branches are decorated with these eggs together with feathers to create an Easter centerpiece. The branches (minus the eggs of course as too fragile) will be used by the Easter witches: kids go around in their neighborhood / village to wish Happy Easter by pounding the branches on the shoulders of the people in various houses, obtaining in exchange of the branch accompanied by an Easter rhyme some Easter treats. A sort of Halloween in short, but at least for me it was much more fun!
Among the flowers all the bulbs are very important among which the narcissus is the most traditional, used to decorate not only the table but often also the Easter wreaths.
In addition, a week (or so) before Easter we plant grass in Finland. Yes, grass. Imagine that it's still midwinter outside so this touch of green indoors is an important spring wish. Once grown, the grass is decorated with bunnies, eggs or chicks.
On Easter evening, everybody is ready to light the bonfire previously prepared for this evening. Traditionally it will be lit up just when darkness is about to fall: once it was said that spirits, that is, evil witches, were chased away with bonfires so they could not cause damage to farms. It was said that they could enter the stables in the absence of protection from bonfires, ruin the crops and harm the animals. In any case, for the children it is a nice party: after having collected chocolate eggs at will, all the bonfires in the town await you late in the evening: and to conclude, we'll have a barbeque on red-hot coal at night, when the bonfire is about to to turn off.
It is important to eat well at Easter even if there are not many traditional dishes, but it is worth mentioning one. Mämmi. A very special dessert. It looks rather interesting had has a strong flavour. It should be served with a little sugar and some cream. Made of rye flour and malt, dark molasses and dried orange peel, traditionally mämmi was served in a small bowl made from birch bark. This dish divides opinions a lot but nevertheless it is part of our traditions.