Early Easter in Sweden

Night at a campfire Credit: Matheus Bertelli, Pexels

In Sweden, celebrating Holy Saturday is just as vital as Easter Sunday, due to a centuries-old Nordic tradition, emerging from an ancient poem.

In Catholic customs, Easter Sunday is celebrated as the day on which Jesus Christ was believed to have come back to life, however, for the Swedes, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection begins on Saturday Eve.

In Swedish languages, most holiday names include “afton” at the end, as in Påskafton, translating to Easter Eve. 

The Swedes believe that written between 9th and 10th centuries, the Havamal, an Old Norse poem, expressed enlightening insight into the origin of life. 

The poem begins with the line: “Praise day at evening,”; in ancient times, festive occasions began as soon as it got dark, as this was an indication of a new day, unlike our understanding of night and morning.

On Easter Saturday, Swedish families enjoy painted eggs, kids dress up as witches from folklore, and homes are decorated with spring birch twigs.

As it darkens, the community unites to light up Easter bonfires, over which they tell stories and sing together. Many participate in midnight mass and Easter Church service is held both during night and day.

In this way, the residents and visitors of Sweden enjoy Easter on a larger scale, continuing the festivity on Easter Sunday and Monday.

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.