“So what do Norwegians usually do for Easter?” I ask my friend. “Usually we go to our cabin, go skiing and eat lots of eggs”. “Eggs? You mean chocolate eggs?” “No, regular eggs”. WTF. Like real eggs? Do they also eat real rabbits instead of the chocolate ones? These people take the whole Easter thing way too seriously. (Check it out: Norwegians ate 35 million eggs just over the Easter Holiday in 2011).
The truth is, as soon as Christmas is over Norwegians are only waiting for one thing: Easter holiday. The wait is long: 3 to 4 months until Påske, with the promise of nothing else than warmth and summer-feeling until September.
So, you are a foreigner, maybe you are Christian maybe you aren’t but in any case you’ll need more preparation than a few million eggs and reading about the religious reasons to celebrate Easter to be prepared to celebrate a Norwegian “Påske”. My first Easter holiday in Oslo I thought there would be big parties to celebrate all these bank holidays. Wrong and wrong. Easter is a family time and most people leave the city to their hytte. So Oslo is completely empty, almost as empty as during Christmas.
And like many things in Norway it’s not just about what you eat or what you do, it’s about the whole atmosphere. It needs to be “koselig” of course, which means it will involve family meals, evenings by the fire place, hikes, skiing trips in the woods (one last time before the Spring) and lots of sun.
You will also need:
– Oranges and Solo. Norwegians love eating lots of oranges during Easter because “oranges are the sun of Easter”, whatever that means. And Solo is the Norwegian Version of Fanta, the orange-taste soda.
– roast lamb (sååå koselig)
– crime novels or påskekrim. I just realised that’s probably why Jo Nesbø’s latest book just came out
– Kvikk lunsj: a chocolate bar that looks just like KitKat but doesn’t taste AT ALL like KitKat will the Norwegians say to you. Because Kvikk lunsj is part of everyone’s childhood and a symbol of Norwegian culture: the hike, the joy of being together, the chocolate as a reward.
The only thing is since it was created by Freia in the 1930’s, global capitalism hasn’t forgotten Norwegian hikers. Everything is still Norwegian in Kvikk Lunsj, except the company that owns Freia (Mondelez, ex-KRAFT Foods), the palmoil it contains, and the factory that makes it. All the rest (the buyers) are Norwegians, and they eat lots of it, especially during Easter (around 18 million bars…Crazy).
– Easter beer: Norwegians have their Christmas beer (juleøl), their summer beer (sommerøl) and of course their Easter beer (påskeøl). Very easy to recognise it usually has little yellow chickens on the can (oh no wait that’s a Danish one).
So what is the next event Norwegians wait for after Påske? It is the 17th of May. Not such a long wait, only a few weeks away before we can all dress in our bunads, eat bløtkake, drown ourselves in Cava and strawberries and remember how proud we are to be free Norwegians. And this year Norwegians are celebrating the 200 years of their Constitution Day, so it’s going to be a GREAT party!!