Easter in Finland
Easter in Finland is mostly about welcoming the long-awaited arrival of spring after the cold winter time and getting ready for the approaching summer season. It’s the time to start planting the seeds of life, happiness and health when the nature wakes up. For many Finns, celebrating Easter also means taking a break from the busy life. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays so many families grab this chance to spend the long weekend away on a short trip somewhere. Some people would also send Easter cards to relatives and friends.
Planting grass seeds In many cultures, the arrival of spring with the nature waking up is an important celebration and can be pretty exciting for kids. Planting grass seeds symbolizes the arrival of spring and is usually organized in schools and kindergartens in Finland. Kids have so much fun in creating their own growing grass (rairuoho) in shallow dishes using patchwork materials or other recycled materials. When the grass has grown, children decorate the dishes accordingly, usually with bunnies and chicks. For adults, they usually put some beautiful yellow daffodils in flower vases. Decorating willow twigs (pajunkissa) In Finland, forests and green areas are common to residential places. In Easter and spring time, the willow plant flourishes and grows to such a large area in forests, creating a really nice view of willow twigs shining on the bushes. People would cut these willow twigs and put them in vases as a sign of welcoming spring. Children are excited to participate and love to decorate them with colorful decorative objects like feathers, colorful papers or other patchwork materials. They are also curious to know why the pajunkissa has been called that way; kissa in Finnish means cat, and paju is willow. There are nice books in the libraries about pajunkissa and Easter that you can borrow and read to children. Funny Easter witches
At least in Finland, there’s no need to get scared of witches during this time as it’s another way of celebrating the arrival of spring. On Palm Sunday (Palmusunnuntai), children dressed up as witches wish everyone a healthy hear. They wear colorful clothes and scarves, and paint their faces. They would go from door to door with a basket in their hands and the decorated willow twigs saying, “Virvon, varvon, tuoreeks terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks; vitsa sulle, palkka mulle.” These words meant to wish you a healthy year to come after the awakening of the nature in spring. They give these decorated willow twigs as gifts and in return, you have to give them some candies and chocolates, or a coin. Easter bonfires
The Easter bonfires are a common tradition mostly in the Ostrobothnia region, but can also be seen in Helsinki areas. Seurasaari Island holds the annual Easter bonfire at Juhlakentävä square. The fire is set in the evening at around 18:30 and it’s like a passion play for families especially for children. People gather together around the bonfires and enjoy the outdoors and the first signs of spring. Mämmi Mämmi (memma in Swedish) is the most traditional and special Easter dessert in Finland. It’s a dark brown pudding made of rye flour and powdered malted rye seasoned with dark molasses. Some studies say that the origin of Mämmi dates back to the medieval Germany or even from the great Persian empire. People usually buy Mämmi from food shops during Easter, not prepared at home. There’s a good variety of different Mämmi brand to buy from supermarkets. Mämmi has a very special flavour worth trying, and some love the taste but others find it quite weird. The Fazer Mignon chocolate egg
This is one of the company’s most special products, and the oldest, dating back to 1896. Real eggshells are filled with almond-hazelnut nougat. They are sold in Finnish supermarkets around Easter time and very popular among all ages. It’s not only delicious, but can be quite unique for visitors to bring back as a perfect souvenir from Finland.