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Brightly Coloured eggs full of treats !!

Hi guys !

How are things ? Today I want to tell you all a little bit about Easter here in Sweden... It's such a lovely time of the year and while I was never too fussed about it back in the UK, I just love it here and this is why !

So, after a long winter there is no doubt that by April everyone (except perhaps our die hard snowmobile enthusiast neighbour and friend) is looking forward to the rebirth of spring, the blossoms on the trees, the blooms in the garden and swathes of stunning wild flowers everywhere. While there is still some snow around, our own garden is still under at least a good foot of the stuff, the roads and towns are clear of it, and you can see little islands of grass appearing around the foot of the trees, moats of glorious lawn appearing around the circumference of the house and beautiful little birds returning to enjoy this lovely season here in the North!!

Couple with this the Swedes enthusiasm to mark the Easter celebrations with joyful coloured feathers tied to birch twigs, brightly coloured eggs full of treats and children trooping around the village dressed as little old ladies carrying baskets or old fashioned coffee kettles to gather sweets and treats from their neighbours and friends... something that to us is much more familiar with Halloween, and you can't help but feel a little spring in your step.

The tradition of children dressing as Easter witches (Påskhäxor) comes from old Swedish folk beliefs that at Easter witches would take their brooms and fly to a place called Blåkulla (blue hill) to meet with the devil and party in a debauched way !! Often at Easter fires are lit and fireworks shot to keep those witches away !!

The idea of tying brightly coloured feathers to a large bouquet of birch twigs is a custom that is perhaps a bit newer. Harvesting a few branches from a birch tree in the run up to easter and bringing them into the home forces little leaves to sprout that bit earlier, giving a sense of spring while winter still holds outdoors. By then adding coloured feathers to the branches you have a beautiful promise of the sweet spring that is yet to arrive in its fullest. Some say that the birch twigs are to represent a broom sweeping away winter, the feathers caught up in it ... some say the branches are to symbolize the whipping and suffering of Jesus, but now they serve as a jolly decoration to bring joy in the home and perhaps out in the garden too.

One thing you won't find so much of here in North Sweden are the mass produced chocolate Easter eggs that you find in the UK ... no, here you will see lots and lots of cardboard eggs that open up so you can put inside your own treats ... sweets, chocolate, small gifts etc. They come in a great array of patterns and designs and sizes and really are very pretty, and the beauty of them is that you can put them away and use them year after year or you recycle them... very sustainable and very Swedish I think !! I must admit that the girls do miss a Cadburys Easter egg, but the little eggs I bought, filled and hid all around the house this year, aswell as the tin eggs stuffed with tiny chocolate eggs and the marshmallowy bunnies seemed to do the trick and I think they've still got some left in fact!

A delicious easter treat ! Pistachio paste is very popular in Sweden.

As I said earlier I never bothered too much about Easter when I lived in England but here I have the tremendous urge to make everything feel lighter and brighter. This seems to centre itself in our Kitchen/dining room, I change the curtains to soft pastel green from the dark red Christmas/winter ones and dress the table with a soft yellow runner, small pretty vases and stem holders holding little plumes of feathers and egg shaped candles. Homemade bunting in complimenatry colours is hung about the place too and suddenly everything feels bigger, brighter and full of promise... I love it !!

So remember, if you come to Sweden for Easter, watch out for the Easter witches ... and if you see them give them sweets and treats just incase they are actually the real deal !!

Much love,

Nic xx

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