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What you need to know about Swedish Easter Traditions

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Pasen in Zweden

Just like Christmas, Easter is a real family celebration in Sweden. The Swedes celebrate Easter somewhat differently than we do. They don’t have an Easter bunny but Easter witches, they play jokes with each other and they also get time off on Good Friday.

Glad Påsk

Happy Easter in Swedish is Glad Påsk. At Easter, Swedes decorate eggs and hang colored feathers on Easter branches in their homes. And they eat a lot and have a lot of sweets and chocolate.

For those who learn Swedish:

  • Happy Easter: Glad Påsk
  • Maundy Thursday: Skärtorsdagen
  • Good Friday: långfredagen
  • Holy Saturday: påskafton
  • Easter witches: påskkärringar
  • Twigs with colored feathers/easter twigs: påskris

Easter in Sweden: what have witches to do with it?

On Holy Saturday (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday) the children dress up as Easter witches and go from door to door. They sing songs and hand out drawings. In exchange, they are rewarded with sweets. So the Swedish Easter Witch is a cute version and not a scary witch anymore.

The adult version of the witches at Easter in Sweden goes like this: on Good Friday, the young men gently tap the ladies with a twig until they are offered an alcoholic drink. On Easter Sunday it is up to the ladies to hit the gentlemen with the twigs.

The Easter witch tradition is said to date back to the Middle Ages when hundreds of women were executed in Sweden for witchcraft. It was once believed that the witches flew on their brooms to Blåkulla Island on Maundy Thursday to meet with the devil. On Holy Saturday there are many Easter fires that, according to tradition, were supposed to keep the witches at bay. Nowadays there also often fireworks. The witches returned on Holy Saturday. To make sure there was none in your chimney, you had to burn 9 different branches on Easter Sunday before lighting your fireplace.

Easter buffet

Although Easter no longer has any religious significance for most Swedes, the majority of Swedes do celebrate Easter. Like Christmas, it is a real family celebration. The buffet can also be compared to the julbord. Only the julkinken or the Christmas ham has been replaced by eggs. Most of the Easter buffet are egg dishes. Furthermore, herring and salmon are of course there too. Janssons frestelse is also a dish that is often served at Easter.

Extended weekend

The Easter weekend is an extended weekend for a lot of people. Easter Monday is an official holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands. On Good Friday, most of us (except for the banks, I think) have to work. In Sweden, that’s different and Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Good Friday are official holidays. (An overview of all Swedish holidays and public holidays can be found here.)

Dymmelsons dagen

On April 1, we play jokes. April fools. But in Sweden this is on the Wednesday before Easter. This day is called Dymmelsons dagen in Swedish. The word doesn’t seem to translate literally but would be something like “joke Wednesday”. Hanging a note on someone’s back without them noticing, something that is also popular with us on April 1, is a typical thing for Dymmelon days. When we shout “April fools!”, The Swedes say: “April april din dumma sill, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill“.

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Swedish Easter traditions
3 April 2021

Skiing in Sweden

Skiën in Zweden

You may not immediately think of Sweden for your next ski holiday, but Sweden is a great winter sports destination. The ski areas are generally a bit quieter than the popular ski resorts in France or Austria. Moreover, many areas are snow-sure and you can easily combine it with other winter sports (cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobile trip, husky trip,…) not to mention a nice sauna after a day on the slopes and the opportunity to see the northern lights. The ski season in Sweden runs from November to April / May, depending on the ski area you choose. Below I list some options for skiing in Sweden.

Langlaufen in Zweden

Ski resorts in Sweden

Ski area Åre

The Åre ski area is arguably the most popular place to ski in Sweden. Actually, Åre includes a few different ski areas that are are connected by ski bus. You will find 91 km of slopes in Åre, both for beginners and advanced skiers. Off-piste skiing is also popular in Åre. With Gunniliften, a ski lift of no less than 1.6 km, Åre has the longest ski lift in the world. They absorb the short, dark winter days by illuminating the slopes. Åre is located in Jämtland.

Tip for the overnight stay: Holiday Club Åre

Skiing in Sälen

Sälen in Dalarna is probably the largest ski area in Scandinavia with 116 km of slopes. It is close to the Norwegian border, about 4 hours from Oslo. Sälen consists of the ski areas of Lindvallen, Högfjället, Tandådalen, Hundfjälllet and Kläppen. Like most ski areas in Sweden, Sälen is extremely family-friendly. Advanced skiers will love the many black runs in Tandådalen.

Skiing above the Arctic Circle

Dundret is located near Gällivare, about 100 km above the Arctic Circle. Here Sweden offers the opportunity to ski as early as October. The slopes are lit so that the polar night is not an obstacle. The ski area is quite limited, but there is a lot to do in the area. Maybe not the spot for those who want to ski all week, but fun for those who want to spend a few days on the skis during their holiday in Swedish Lapland.

Skiing on the more than 20 km of slopes at Riksgränsen is only possible after February, when the days are longer again. You can count on a lot of good snow and this even until June. Riksgränsen is a perfect ski area for those who like to go off piste. You can also go helicopter skiing here.

Good to know: how much daylight is there in Sweden in winter?

Skiing in Stockholm

Stockholm is not immediately the snowiest destination in Sweden (check Does it snow in Stockholm?) and yet you can ski there for most of the winter. International competitions are even held on the slopes at Hammarbybacken.

Skiën in Zweden: Hammarbybacken

There is a snow park, a green, a blue, a red and even a black slope. The slopes are good for barely 2 km, but skiing in Sweden with a view over Stockholm is a must try.

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23 January 2021

Slask, the Swedish word for slush

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We know it all too well: the slush that remains after it has snowed but it is just not cold enough for the snow to remain. In Swedish they call this slush ‘slask’.

Puddles of slush at the crosswalk

Let me take Stockholm as an example. If it does snow there, it is often not cold enough for the snow to stay for a long time. And when that snow starts to melt, a dirty gunk quickly forms on the sidewalk: slask or slush. Believe me, you don’t want to go through that with your nice shoes or low sneakers.

I am a fan of the crossings in Stockholm (and the rest of Sweden): there is an inclined path almost everywhere so that you can easily get off the sidewalk with a trolley, wheelchair or buggy. Unfortunately, these are also places where slush accumulates quickly. So pay attention and take a big jump or cross the road next to it.

Slask / slush proof shoes

In the winter months it is certainly on my packing list when I travel to Sweden: warm but especially waterproof shoes. I chose a pair of comfortable sneakers with lining. They are a bit higher than the average sneaker so that they are also slask / slush proof. In the sneakers I still put wool soles so that my feet stay extra warm.

Even when I travel to Östersund or Lapland in the winter, for example, I take these sneakers with me. Always handy for short walks to the store or for the journey there. Easy so I don’t have to put on my snow boots on the train.

If I am going on a city trip to Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö in the winter, my slask / slush proof sneakers will of course also travel with me. Even if no snow is forecast! Because they are waterproof, they are also useful on rainy days.

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21 January 2021