© © Region Stavanger, Sirdal hytteformidling, Simen Haughom

Cross-country skiing, oranges and kvikklunsj

Long cross-country hikes with a motivation at the end is a typical family pastime. Coffee or hot chocolate on a thermos, oranges and the Norwegian “kvikklunsj” chocolate in the backpack. Norwegians actually eat 20 million oranges in total during Easter every year. A longer hike can also include campfires and roasting skewered sausages over the fire.

Norwegians read crime novels in their comfy cabins. But why crime novels?

No other country in the world reads as many crime novels as Norway during Easter holidays.

Supposedly, there is a number of reasons to this. Firstly, we have a long Easter break, therefore plenty of time to read. Secondly, Norway is such as safe country to live in, so perhaps we need an outlet for all our morbid fantasies whilst enjoying ourselves in an isolated cabin in the mountains. Reading about murders and crimes certainly gets your heart pumping. Thirdly, the traditions for crime solving during Easter go way back to 1923 when the national newspaper Aftenposten printed the headline “The Bergen train was looted last night” just at the start of Easter break. It was a story that took Norway by storm; however, it was no real news story! It was a marketing campaign for Jonathan Jerv’s newly written crime novel. It became quite the success too, as people went on a buying frenzy to obtain the novel. This entire publicity stunt was then the start of Norwegian people's love for Easter crime mysteries.

"Kos/hygge" at the cabin

Playing monopoly, playing cards – simply being together as a family with not too many digital distractions. Traditionally, these are nice things that families do together in their cabins. In addition to reading crime novels of course… Solving crosswords and what we call “påskenøtter” (translates to Easter nuts, not to be understood as being nuts, but in the meaning a hard nut to crack). It is all about family bonding, solving puzzles and mysteries.

Easter symbols and egg decorating

The most important symbols of Easter are the cross, eggs and chickens, lamb, the colour yellow as well as light green from freshly sprung sprouts. Yellow as the colour of Easter is specific to the Nordic countries, as in other countries they use different colours, such as white and purple to symbolising Easter. Egg decorating is of course typical for many countries, so not native to Norway, but we have adopted this activity, and it has become a pleasant tradition for families to do together. Dyeing the eggs yellow can be achieved by boiling them together with yellow onion peels. Another way of decorating eggs is to poke a hole in each end and blow out all the contents of the egg so that you’re only left with the eggshells. Then decorate with paint and hang in branches for decorations.

The Easter egg hunt

Newer traditions have also become part of the Easter mix in Norway – such as egg hunting with the kids. A tradition we have copied from our European neighbours, it is originally a German tradition from the 1600s where the Easter bunny came with eggs for the kids and hid them around the garden for the children to find.

Easter in the lowlands

If not in the mountains – Norwegians also spend Easter in the lowlands, perhaps in their cabins near the beach or in the islands. At Jæren, it is an Easter tradition to go to the ocean and boil eggs on an open fire. This is only allowed in designated areas for open fire, as there is a general ban on campfires between 15 September and 15 April.

For the early risers - catch the sunrise

Another habit to do during Easter is hiking in general. At the beach, in the forest, in the mountains – Norwegians tend to use nature to the fullest. Traditionally, one would go out hiking very early on Easter Day, so early in fact that you could see the sunrise! The reason to this is that it supposedly could cure disease and other illnesses. Perhaps that’s why Norwegians are seemingly always on some mountain top? Did you also know that some Norwegians start the beach season at Easter? The Easter ocean bath can often be witnessed on Palm Sunday every year. A rather chilly start to the Easter holidays, wouldn't you say?

Happy Easter!


Sources: Krimklubben.no, Wikipedia, scandinaviantraveler.com