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Cross-country skiing, oranges and kvikklunsj

Long cross-country hikes with motivation at the end are a typical family pastime. Coffee or hot chocolate on a thermos, oranges and the Norwegian “kvikklunsj” chocolate in the backpack. Did you know that Norwegians eat around 16 million oranges and 19 million clementines in total during Easter every year? A longer hike can also include campfires and roasting skewered sausages over the fire.

Cross-country skiing trails

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 the Easter holidays.

Supposedly, there is a number of reasons for 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 a success too, as people went on a buying frenzy to obtain the novel. This entire publicity stunt was then the start of the 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 and 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 symbolise Easter. Egg decorating is of course typical for many countries, so this is 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 on 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 for this is that it could supposedly cure diseases and other illnesses. Perhaps that’s why Norwegians are seemingly always on some mountaintop.

Start of the beach season at Easter?

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? If you don't fancy a swim, then perhaps you are ready for the ice cream season. The ice cream at Ølbergkiosken is rumoured to be the best in Norway! And it opens for the season in April, just in time for Easter.

Happy Easter!

(Sources:, Bama, Wikipedia,

Easter on the Edge of Norway

Learn more about quirky, Norwegian Easter traditions. Is Easter in Norway and in the Stavanger region for you? Spend it in the snowy mountains of Sirdal, Bjerkreim or Gjesdal or near the beaches of Jæren on the edge of Norway. If a city Easter is more to your liking, choose between Stavanger, Sandnes, Bryne or Egersund. Combine with fjord adventures in the Lysefjord, and island activities outside of Stavanger, or find a different Easter experience in lunar landscapes.

Find out more

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