Glad Påsk

7 04 2023

Happy Easter in Swedish is Glad Påsk. Easter is a real family celebration in Sweden. They celebrate Easter somewhat differently than it is done in the US. 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.

Holy Wednesday, or Dymmelonsdag is the Wednesday before Easter. The word doesn’t seem to translate literally but would be something like “joke Wednesday”. Similar to “April fools!”, The Swedes say: “April april din dumma sill, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill“. (April, April you dum herring, I can fool you in any way I want)

At Easter, Swedes decorate eggs and hang colored feathers on Easter branches in their homes. Children are given a colorful paper egg with candy inside.

Easter witches. 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 current Swedish Easter Witch is a cute and friendly witch and not a scary witch as in the middle ages.

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.

Easter meal. Most of the Easter buffet are egg dishes. Furthermore, herring and salmon are served and sometimes Janssons frestelse, Jansson’s temptation..

In Sweden, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are official holidays.

Related Swedish vocabulary

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

Happy Easter from Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc.



One response

7 04 2023

JanThank you so much for sharing this information with all of us…it helped me to connect and appreciate more about  our shared Swedish heritage!Glad Pask!SarahSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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