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.
Yesterday was the first day of Spring if you go by the astronomical seasons and the last week here has felt very spring-like. Blue skies and a definite warmth to the sun. I was early to an appointment in the city last week and settled myself on a sun trap bench along with other sun starved people and sat with my face tilted to the sun like a flower, soaking up every new ray.
The year seems to have whizzed passed so quickly – it seems just the other day we were getting ready for Christmas and now its time to celebrate Easter. Easter is very early this year but nevertheless it seems to be here a little too soon. But at least the Spring seems to have come with it. I have already retired my winter boots and heavy coat, which has been refreshingly like shedding a skin
I love decorating for Easter and we are getting a nice little selection of eggs to brighten up the house with. I wrote last year a little about why I celebrate Easter. Each year I enjoy marking a new season or celebration with something special like decorations, a delicious, traditional meal (we will again be having rolled lamb from Cleavers in Torvehallerne on Easter Sunday) and small but enjoyable family traditions, and Easter is no exception. Now my son is in full-time school celebrations and holidays also mean a break from the early morning routine and some time to relax. I usually make sure my Easter (or Christmas) wreath is on the door to mark the last day of term, a tradition he loves. And so the holiday week begins for us with a decadent lunch of pancakes after a morning chilling out in our PJs. Finally I thought I’d share a photo from 2013, from another early Easter but a completely different one with the sea frozen and Easter egg hunts in the snow – so feeling even more thankful for the spring weather this Easter.
It has been a glorious Easter weekend here in Copenhagen with temperatures hitting around 18 degrees and it was certainly tshirt weather at last. Hip hip hurra! And we have one more day to go with a visit to Tivoli on the cards.
I had a great morning on Thursday at the flea market at Forum with wonderful company.
Good Friday saw up eating a traditional Danish Easter meal of smoked salmon and pickled herring followed by a delectable Easter cake.
Everything opened again on Saturday and we had a lovely sunshine wander around Torvehallerne and bought lamb for Easter Sunday’s dinner.
Sunday was all about Easter egg hunts and roast lamb after I had enjoyed the morning at Finderskeepers at TAP1.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend full of chocolate and hyggeligt times.
We started putting up Easter decorations at the weekend but finished the display yesterday. Whilst I bought a few bits and bobs from supermarkets and have some Danish design decorations for our Easter display, it is predominantly a handmade affair – both by my son and me. I love sitting together and creating things and Easter seems to be a very relaxed time to do this. Each year we make new things but I treasure the ones my son made from previous years.
These are his creations this year and I love them.
And here are mine at the top (rabbit painted at Creative Space) and some bought ones at the bottom including my favourite porcelain egg from Royal Copenhagen, I simply can’t get enough of pink blossoms so this is perfect for me.
Finally the piece this Easter I am the most proud of is my Spring wreath. I made ten narcissus from this tutorial and I planned to make a brighter wreath but in the end, whilst looking at the selection of decorations I had, I decided to go for a natural look with feathers and quails eggs so the paper flowers really shone out. Lots of my neighbours have complemented me on it so I am delighted to have brighten up their days.I hope you have enjoyed a peek at my Easter.
Easter is a big celebration here in Denmark with work places closed for the longest time in the year, even Christmas. Next week will be my big Easter week here on the blog but I thought I give you a little taster today of what is in the shops at the moment.
A big tradition is the Royal Copenhagen Easter egg. Each year there are new designs and they are always really beautiful. There are a number of designs in the small hanging eggs and also the larger table top ones. Just like at Christmas, the Royal Copenhagen flagship store on Amgertorv features exquisite seasonal table settings at the front of the store (see below).Close to Royal Copenhagen is Illums Bolighus and I love their giant nests in the window full of eggs and wooden birds. For something whimsical, the Easter Hoptimists are perfect (bottom right).The little shops are also full of individual Easter decorations like the ones by Helle Gram below. For Helle’s and other individual ceramicists work Unika K is a great website.
Even the supermarkets sell very tasteful (and sometimes not so tasteful) decorations (see above) and paper napkins to make your Easter table bright and inviting. Of course candles are a big part of it! Florists are packed with little and big daffodils or påskelilie (Easter Lilies), tulips and blossom and leaf branches. Many also sell blown eggs to add to your decorations. If you are looking to decorate your home and you don’t want to spend a lot then florists, supermarkets, Tiger, Søstene Grene and Panduro are the places to go for less expensive items to individualise and things to make yourself.
This week I will be making my Easter decorations and preparing an Easter hunt for my son, all of which I shall share next week.
I will be taking a little Easter blogging break to eat chocolate and to be hyggeligt. Hope you all have a great holiday and let’s hope Spring arrives with April.
Don’t forget to check out my entry for the Expat Blogs’ writing competition here and I will be sharing our Easter moments on Instagram @dejligedays, expect lots of chocolate!