Finnish Easter is a big holiday, but not necessary that religious as it originally was. In this occasion, Finns mix pagan traditions with family time and some religious aspects.
It is certainly a long weekend which cuts the spring nicely in half. Many families head for their cabin or ski resorts.
The Finnish Easter witch
For Finnish kids, it is the best celebration after Christmas and birthday. The Sunday one week before Easter is a day that children await.
To describe it in one sentence, I would say it is the Finnish equivalent of Halloween.
In many families, the preparations start couple days before. Kids gather a good bunch of willow twigs and decorate them pretty with different colored ribbons and feathers.
On Sunday, the children go door to door with their joyful willow twigs. Wishing the door opener good health and happiness by chanting a rhyme and waving the willow, they give the twig and in exchange expect candy or money.
Some twenty years ago (sigh..) I spent the whole Saturday preparing my twigs for Sunday.
It did not occur to me that I was of the only family with kids in a 10 km radius, which of course meant that a minimum amount of effort would have been equally appreciated and led to the same bucket of candy.
The best part of that day was not the willows nor the candy, it was definitely the chance of being an Easter witch. I planned my assemble for weeks and did many dress rehearsals with my sister to perfect our looks.
With pride and excitement, I used my mum’s lipstick and eyeliner to create the freckles and blush appropriate for a witch.
Luckily, when I grew up and was too big to be an Easter witch, my makeup skills also improved from those days!
Actual Easter Days
Finns celebrate Easter from Friday until Monday. Some shops are open during all days, most shops at least on Saturday. If you work in an office, you get a wonderful little holiday of four days.
The Easter grass (rairuoho in Finnish) is a must in any household with children. It symbolizes the spring. You buy a pack of Easter grass seeds in any grocery store. Plant them a week before Easter to get a great result!
For those few days, Finland is suddenly something out of Alice in Wonderland. Check these six things that we do in the Easter time.
Six funny things that belong to Finnish Easter
- Finns rarely like small decorative trinkets. At Easter, we have little chicks, roosters, bunnies and eggs all over the house.
- Finns do not particularly like yellow. At Easter, we decorate everything with yellow.
- Finns rarely eat lamb. At Easter, we eat only lamb.
- Finns know that willow makes you allergic. At Easter, we decorate the house with willow twigs.
- Finns do not let their kids eat sweet things for breakfast. At Easter, children eat chocolate eggs in the morning.
- Finns don’t like cold porridge. Well, nobody likes it. At Easter, we eat mämmi, cold sweet rye porridge with cream and sugar.