Easter is quite a big deal in Denmark and it almost feels as if there is spring in the air finally! Most work places are closed for five days and the city empties out as people travel to visit family or spend time at summer houses for some påskehygge! Most shops close from Thursday to Monday opening for a short day on Saturday so it is best advised to stock up before Easter or check the opening times of your local supermarket.
As I have come to expect there are a lot of Danish traditions around Easter so I thought I would share some of them with you today.The Danes love to decorate for Easter and the shops start selling decorations such as eggs, natural and colourful, napkins and candles, predominantly in green and yellow a few weeks before Easter. Påskelilie or daffodils are everywhere from workplaces and homes and can be picked up either cut or in pots with the bulbs very cheaply from florists and supermarkets.The month before Easter bars and supermarkets start selling påskeøl or Easter beers. The main breweries produce popular versions but there are many to choose from produced by smaller breweries. They are delicious and light in flavour but still pack a punch alcohol wise. These beers and snaps are enjoyed with a big traditional meal on Easter Sunday. Chocolate is a big part of Easter with eggs, big and small and also Easter layer cakes in the bakeries.
My favourite Danish Easter tradition is Gækkebrev. From February people start sending elaborately decorated teasing letters or cards without a signature. Instead, the letter holds a number of dots that corresponds with the number of letters of the sender´s name. If the one receiving the letter guesses who has sent it, he or she will get an Easter chocolate egg. But if the receiver does not guess who has sent it, then he or she gives an Easter egg to the sender.
Easter is such a time of celebration and fun here in Copenhagen, most importantly as it signifies the end of the dark winter time.