Food, Sweets and Drink during Easter

2011-04-21. Published in Language & Culture
by Nils Pasi

Ham for Christmas, herring for midsummer, crayfish for crayfish parties and ___ for Easter. Yes, we do have crayfish parties in Sweden. They're really popular, fun and fairly special, although maybe not as unique as the midsummer festivities when you're supposed to sing a frog song whilst frog-jumping around a maypole. Midsummer is still some time away, though, so for the time being, I'd like to direct your attention to the fact that I have deliberately left out the food associated with Easter. That's because Easter food is the topic of this article, and it simply wouldn't do to give it all away in the very first sentence!

In the past, eggs and meet were considered the highlights of the Easter dinner. That's apparently because Easter comes right after the Christian fast, a time during which you couldn't eat neither eggs nor meet. Thus, people really looked forward to tasting these two items again. In modern days, with much fewer people observing the fast, eggs and meet are no longer the absolute highlights, although eggs do remain the piece of food most strongly associated with Easter. In addition to eggs, modern Swedes eat a great deal more fish during Easter, than did the Swedes of old. Herring and salmon are among the favourites, as indeed they are whenever Swedes eat fish.

Easter is a sweet time in the sense that Swedes eat a lot of sweets during Easter. As Emma wrote yesterday, it is traditional to fill Easter eggs made of sturdy paper with sweets. These eggs are then hidden, and the children in the house are supposed to go looking for them. The sweets manufacturers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, and prepare special Easter sweets. Oftentimes, these special sweets come in the shapes of eggs. There are chocolate eggs, marzipan eggs, jelly eggs, and much, much more. In the rare instances when the shapes do not resemble eggs, the text on the packaging should reveal if the sweets are special Easter sweets or not.

Traditional Easter sweets are generally made of marzipan, though. Marzipan chickens, hens and eggs are very common, and typically found only during Easter. In recent years, chocolate Easter bunnies have begun to show up as well, most likely as a result of the successful and much appreciated chocolate santa clauses sold during Christmas.

Julmust of course--- err, beg your pardon, I meant to say Påskmust. To be honest, it's basically the same thing: must. During Christmas, it magically becomes Julmust, and during Easter it becomes Påskmust. For the linguists out there, Jul is the Swedish word for Christmas, and Påsk the Swedish word for Easter. If you don't like Julmust and Påskmust, you're out of luck, for as far as I know, that's the only special Easter beverage out there.

That's it for today. I hope you'll all have a tasty Easter!

/Nils, team 2011