The Norwegian Easter is a mix of traditions and religions. But there are a few rules on what defines a Norwegian Easter celebration in particular. We’ve shared our highlights below, read on!
- It’s all about the chicken and the egg. In Norway, the main symbols of Easter are the egg and the chicken. The egg is meant to represent new life as in many countries, and the chicken is an ancient symbol of fertility. The Easter bunny is a more recent symbol and not very Norwegian.
- Start the celebration early! There is a long run up to Easter in Norway, which begins with ‘Fastelavn’ over a month earlier, on Sunday 3rd of March in 2019. This is a carry over from Catholicism. However, nowadays the tradition has lost its religious meaning and is more a day for colourful costumes and eating the fastelavn-bun.
- Create your own ‘Fastelavnsris’. A week before Easter, on Palm Sunday, Norwegian brings birch twigs into their homes and decorate them with painted eggs and colourful feathers. Springtime flowers and decorative chicks adorn the house in time for the holidays.
- Do your Easter shopping in time. On Wednesday the 17th of April, shops close down for the holiday. This is your last chance to stock up on food supplies and whatever you may need for Easter.
- Escape to the ‘hytte’ in mountains. Om Wednesday there will be a steady stream and slow moving traffic out of all the larger cities, with Norwegians driving to their ‘hytte’ to celebrate Easter with cross country skiing in the mountains. It’s also the time to watch Nordic Noir style dramas called ‘Paskekrim’ on tv, read books and solve puzzles or play boardgames like Yatzy with the family.
- Remember the Easter egg, which is given to each member of the family. The Easter egg is filled with sweet treats and small gifts.
- And more eggs… Did you know, during Easter the Norwegians eat aproximately 30 million eggs. (The population is around 5.2 mill).
- Attend a Church service. On the Thursday before Easter, churches have special services to remember the Last Supper. On Good Friday, there is a special services to remember Jesus’ death on the cross.
- Have a lamb roast on Easter Sunday. Traditionally a roast lamb will be prepared and cooked for hours and shared as the main meal during Easter. Originally, the lamb was symbolising Christ, the Lamb of God. But now the lamb is also a sign of Spring and a new beginning.
- It’s family time! Easter is a quiet time spent with family. Most families will have at least one week of holiday, as to the Norwegians, the Easter holiday is arguably as important as Christmas.
The Norwegian Easter dates and time
The national School holiday is from the 15th to 22nd of April 2019. Many Norwegians will be taking annual leave 15th to 17th of April to have an extended holiday from Friday 19th until Monday 22nd.
- 14th April Palm Sunday
- 18th April Maundy Thursday
- 20th April Holy Saturday
- 21st April Easter Sunday
- 22nd April Easter Monday