Monday, April 5, 2010

Glad Påsk!

JoeToday is Annandag Påsk, a national holiday here in oh-so-secular Sweden, and for once at least it's a holiday we're spending in exactly the way it is intended: a day to recover from the excitement of Easter.

Our local påskkäringar inspecting their haul.
Celebrations got underway the evening of Skärtorsdagen, when all the little girls in Sweden dress up as påskkäringar (witches in Sweden apparently favor aprons, head scarves, and lots of plaid) and go door-to-door handing out "Glad Påsk" cards. Just like last year, we had only one set of visitors (not the same pair, I think), and while Jennifer doled out godis to them in thanks for our card, I waited outside and talked to their father, who made sure to point out
You don't have to give them anything if you don't want to. If you don't have candy, you can give them a 5 kronor piece. Or fruit, you could give them fruit!
Despite this last, somewhat wistful addition, we had no spare fruit, so instead I'm afraid we contributed to the 17 kg of candy each of his daughters will consume this year (that's the national average, anyway). Can the candy tax be far away?

If Skärtorsdagen seems somewhat whimsical in Sweden, Långfredag has a tradition of living up to its name, as up until only a few years ago everything in the country was closed for what has been described as "the most boring day in Sweden." Things have lightened up of late, so now grocery stores and even (gasp!) movie theaters are allowed to open for the day.

Nationalist cascarones for our dinner attendees.
For us, Friday and Saturday were spent mostly prepping for Sunday, as once again we had volunteered to supply the cascarones for Easter dinner with our friends G. and D. We were a party of six all told, so we spent Friday and Saturday making 30 colorful little cascarones, enough for everyone to have a go at everyone else. We also made appetizers again; this year we did vegetable samosas, and some corned beef and cabbage spring rolls that I like to call "Blarney Rolls"—I appear to be alone in my appreciation of the name, however.

Dinner was an outstanding slow cooked lamb along with white beans and salad. Afterwards we adjourned outside, where the weather was surprisingly cooperative. We had feared that none of the snow would be clear by Easter, but a few warm sunny days had worked wonders on G. and D.'s front lawn, so we were able to dash about and get confetti everywhere just like we were supposed to.

Chocolate tarta and blueberry sauce
We followed our exercise up with a lovely chocolate tarta, and then a pleasant evening of brainstorming about the table decorations for G. and D.'s upcoming wedding. By the time we had finished a light supper it was well gone 10 o'clock, and time for a well earned rest.

Has the lovely Påsk weather lasted until Annandag Påsk? Well, at 9 this morning it started to snow again…

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