Easter traditions in Sweden: From Shrovetide revelry to traditional feasts

Easter traditions in Sweden: From Shrovetide revelry to traditional feasts.

Easter traditions in Sweden: From Shrovetide revelry to traditional feasts. Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se.

In Sweden, Easter used to kick off with Shrovetide, a three-day festivity filled with carnivals and games.

People would playfully hit each other with birch twigs and go tobogganing.

Before observing a 40-day fast, it was customary to eat seven hearty meals on Shrove Tuesday.

On Easter Saturday, the mood shifted to joy as people began eating eggs again.

Sometimes, eggs were painted in different colours and given as presents.

In the 1800s, paper eggs filled with sweets became popular.

In western Sweden, bonfires were lit, shotguns fired, and people shouted to scare off witches, a tradition that continues today.

Decorating birch twigs with coloured feathers, dating back to the 1880s, became common.

Legend had it that witches flew off to Mount Blåkulla to meet the Devil on Maundy Thursday.

Nowadays, children dress up as Easter witches and go door-to-door exchanging paintings for sweets.

After consuming sweets, children search for Easter eggs hidden in treasure hunts with clues and riddles.

A traditional Easter lunch typically includes pickled herring, gravlax, and Jansson’s Temptation (a dish with potatoes, onions, and pickled anchovies baked in cream), often accompanied by eggs.

The table is set like a traditional smorgasbord, decorated with birch twigs adorned with feathers.

Spiced schnapps are a common feature. For dinner, roast lamb with potato gratin and asparagus or other suitable sides are popular choices.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.