Celebrating Easter in Sweden with Påskris
For a look at how Easter is celebrated in Sweden and across Northern Europe, browse the #påskris hashtag.
In the spring, florists, markets and city centers in Sweden display twigs and trees sprouting some unexpected blooms: feathers.
Påskris, or “Easter twigs,” refer to birch twigs that have been decorated after being cut and tied together. These Easter trees, especially when displayed in the home, are adorned with colorful feathers, eggs and more.
Beginning in the 17th century, Christian Swedes used påskris—without the feathers—to strike one another as a reminder of Jesus’s suffering. During the 18th century, however, påskris transformed into a more vibrant (and less painful) tradition and have spread to other Nordic countries.
Påskris are placed in water-filled vases and provide bursts of color that Sweden’s spring cannot supply due to its harsh and lengthy winters. If one is lucky enough to find twigs with some early blooms, however, the leaves grow and provide natural color to the påskris, bringing the new life of spring into the home. The more courageous locals will also bring these bursts of color outside the home by adorning the trees that line streets and city centers with colorful feathers and decorations to celebrate Easter and welcome the spring.