Danish Easter traditions

Easter is quite a big deal in Denmark. 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.

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.DSC00488The 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.CIMG6052My 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.

Easter already

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. DSC01645

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 skinDSC01647

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.DSC01648 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. DSC01652 And so the holiday week begins for us with a decadent lunch of pancakes after a morning chilling out in our PJs. DSC01653Finally 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.

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Celebrating Easter

It wasn’t until I moved to Denmark and then Germany that Easter really meant more than chocolate and being made to eat fish on Good Friday. In Denmark we get an extra day free from work on Thursday before Good Friday and the Danes take the extra long weekend as a chance to enjoy family and friends, often at summer houses if the weather is good (and even if it isn’t). Easter comes at the end of a long winter and is very welcome as the days get longer and brighter.DSC00550It has become tradition for us to decorate for Easter with an ever-growing collection of decorations. I usually make an Easter wreath for the front door and a few other little bits and bobs.DSC00547This year I decoupaged feathers and pressed flowers to some blown eggs from Pandura Hobby. The feathers were a success but the dried flowers less.easter egg makesWe also have a number of special decorations particularly ones handmade by my son, beautiful ones from Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen, gifts from friends and ones from individual artists but the whole effect is one of joy of Spring and rebirth. To me that is why I celebrate Easter (oh and of course there is chocolate and cakes!)DSC00542

Danish Easter gifts

Easter is just a week away so what better time to share some Danish Easter gifts? Which do you fancy?eggs

Royal Copenhagen, Kay Bojesen rabbit, Helle Gram eggs, Georg Jensen gold egg, Hoptimist chick, Simply Chocolate egg, Lakrids egg, Summerbird porcelain egg, Royal Copenhagen bonboniere

All to myself…

I was on my way to Forum for the flea market on Maundy Thursday (Skærtorsdag) morning and the sun was shining, the streets were empty so I took a detour to my favourite park in Copenhagen. For the first time ever I had to all to myself and it was wonderful.  The spring flowers were in bloom, the sun warm and it was the perfect Spring morning. I had one of those breathtaking moments of love for life.CIMG6232 CIMG6238 CIMG6241 CIMG6243 CIMG6244 CIMG6249

My Easter weekend

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.

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Good Friday saw up eating a traditional Danish Easter meal of smoked salmon and pickled herring followed by a delectable Easter cake.CIMG6263CIMG6270

 

Everything opened again on Saturday and we had a lovely sunshine wander around Torvehallerne and bought lamb for Easter Sunday’s dinner.

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IMG_5605Sunday was all about Easter egg hunts and roast lamb after I had enjoyed the morning at Finderskeepers at TAP1.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend full of chocolate and hyggeligt times.

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Our Easter decorations

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.CIMG6130

These are his creations this year and I love them.child easter

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.easter decorations

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.spring wreathI hope you have enjoyed a peek at my Easter.

 

Easter Shops

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).royal cphClose 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).misc easterThe 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.helle easter

easter supermarketEven 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.

 

 

Happy Easter

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!

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