25 Mar 2016

Happy Easter!

For us Easter is a celebration of spring and light. The dates are not always
the same and therefor each year is different when it comes to the weather. Sometimes
we still have a lot of snow, sometimes we have eaten the Easter lunch on the veranda.
This year defenately indoors...

When celebrating Easter in Finland, we mix old heathen traditions and christian
traditions, western and eastern, quite smoothly.

Last Sunday, Palm Sunday, little witches went from a house to house with decorated willow branches. In christians tradition the branches are the symbols for Jesus´ journey and palm leaves. This tradition comes from the eastern, Orthodox part of Finland. Houses, livestock and crop were blessed with these branches and who ever brought a branch got a little bounty for it.

Why are children dressed up like witches?
This tradition is purely heathen: in western Finland and in an European tradition Easter time has been a time of evil sprits and witches malevolent towards domestic animals. It was believed that the god´s protection was not very strong during the night between Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Some people pretended to be witches and bonfires were lit to banish evil spirits.

These two traditions were mixed in the end of 1970´s, and now the children
have a new tradition.

It´s great fun to decorate the branches and very exciting to go from a door to door...

Bonfires are burned in Ostrobothnia. We also do it in our family but for us most important 
is to meet friends and enjoy the living fire.

On Sunday our family gets together for the Easter lunch. See the eggs in the
middle! They are the best chocolate eggs in the world, made into a real egg
shell. See how the Mignon eggs are made HERE

Lamb is always on menu as well as the Paskha. It is a festive dish made in Eastern 
Orthodox countries which consists of food that is forbidden during the fast of Great Lent.

Horses have no big role in the Easter traditions. If you wish to decorate the
branches with theme you have to make the decoration yourself...

Happy Easter time to everybody!

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