Easter and Walpurgis night
In Christianity, Easter is the greatest feast and it is celebrated in memory of the fact that Jesus, according to the Bible, was crucified, died and resurrected. Nowadays, many see Easter as an opportunity to spend time with their family, and as a holiday associated with the start of spring. While Easter in many other European countries is a distinct religious celebration, in Sweden it has over time become more secular.
Easter week itself extends from Palm Sunday to Monday Easter and the easterdays are named skärtorsdagen, Långfredag, påskafton, påskdagen och annandagpåsk
Easter is celebrated on different dates each year, but always occurs sometime between March 22 and April 25. For many, Easter and food goes hand in hand. In fact, Easter is the second largest food weekend after Christmas. The most common dishes are eggs, salmon, herring and lamb roast. During Easter we eat twice as much eggs as during a normal week. The eggs are also used to be painted and decorated with different patterns. The fact that eggs have become strongly associated with Easter is related to the fact that eating the eggs during the Christian Easter fast was prohibited. While no one ate eggs, the chickens began to lay – and when the fast was over there were plenty of eggs to enjoy. Filling empty Easter eggs with sweets, chocolates and other sweets is very popular, and during Easter Day, many children get to look for Easter eggs in the garden.
Using Easter tree branches during Easter is an old tradition that lives on. Originally, the tree branches were used to whip, and this was done to remind of Jesus’ suffering. Nowadays, the branches acts as a decoration and is often decorated with beautiful colorful feathers and ornamental eggs.
Walpurgis Night/Last of April
Walpurgis night was a church celebration from the beginning, but today the day is more about celebrating the arrival of spring. The Walpurgis was celebrated in ancient times on May 1st in memory of Saint Valborg. Sancta Walburgh, as she is called in Swedish medieval books, was according to legend, an English royal daughter who lived in the German monastery Heidenheim in the 7th century.
Walpuris night is one of the festivities that have been linked to the entrance of the summer season, and in many places in Sweden, the firecrackers are lit in the evening, accompanied by choral singing and spring speeches. Nowadays, the fire has become a tradition of throwing away everything you want to get rid of on the fire; old doors, fences, branches from cropped fruit trees, bushes, cardboard boxes, etc.
Last April, the fires are lit all over the country.
For the students, walpuris is a first promise of freedom. Most exams are completed, only a few lectures remain before the end of the semester. It is on the last of April that you put on your white student hat and sing songs for spring, the budding flowers and the bright future.