Easter in Denmark usually means that winter is ending, spring is in full bloom, and summer is just around the corner. Just like Christmas, Easter is a big deal for Danes, and this holiday involves many traditions as well. Let’s take a peek into these traditions get to know Easter in Denmark a little bit better.
Creating gækkebrev (or “snowdrop letters”) is usually done by kids in school, but adults do this as well! You would cut out a piece of paper into a shape of a snowflake, leaving space in the middle for a riddle/teaser poem. After writing the riddle, you don’t sign your name, but you put one dot for every letter in your name. You give your letter anonymously to the recipient. Recipients have to guess who it’s from. If they do, the sender owes them a chocolate egg. If not, they owe the sender an egg.
Here’s how you can make your own gækkebrev: Check it out!
Easter is considered a public national holiday in Denmark—schools and most workplaces are closed from Holy/Maundy Thursday until the Monday after Easter Sunday. That’s 5 days off work, and Danes usually take this time (and a little bit more time before or after the Easter long weekend) to go on holidays. Most schools even make the entire week a holiday.
Easter officially starts on Holy Thursday, or Skærtorsdag. There aren’t many traditions on this day, yet the following day, Good Friday or Langfredag, truly feels like a holiday because most shops are closed (it’s good to check which Døgn Netto and restaurants are open that day, in case you forgot to buy groceries the previous day). In predominantly Christian countries, Good Friday also marks the death of Jesus, which might be why Langfredag in Denmark is a bit more solemn.
Easter Saturday is referred to as Skidenlørdag, or “Dirty Saturday” because in the old days, women used this day to do their “spring cleaning” so that the house can be nice and clean for the big easter lunch the next day. In addition to that aspect, back then, the menu for Saturday was skidne æg, or ‘dirty eggs,’ which is hard-boiled or poached egg in mustard sauce. Hence the term skiden (dirty) lørdag.
More importantly (for the children, at least), the Easter Bunny comes tonight! The Easter Bunny will hide chocolate eggs in the garden, ad children will search for them the next day.