Danish Easter Posted by Bjørn A. Bojesen on Apr 7, 2012 in Culture, Traditions
Like jul, påske is a holiday stretching over several days. Unlike juledag (Christmas Day), however, påskedag doesn’t have a fixed date. Any Sunday between March 22 and April 25 will do the job. It’s up to those star-gazers to tell us exactly when we’re going to have our påskeferie (Easter holiday) this year! (According to Wikipedia, Easter Sunday is the ”first Sunday after the first fuldmåne [full moon] after forårsjævndøgn [Spring Equinox]”.)
Whatever your religious beliefs, in påsken you’re guaranteed to have some days off if you live in Denmark. Let’s look at the Danish names of the various påskedag/e (Easter day/s):
Palmesøndag [PAL-meh-suhn-dah] – Palm Sunday, the day when Christians believe Jesus to have been riding into Jerusalem while being greeted by people waving palmeblade (palm leaves).
Skærtorsdag [scare-TORE-s-dah] – Maundy Thursday. The Danish name has something to do with cleansing. This refers to a story of Jesus washing the feet of his followers.
Langfredag [lang-FREH-dah]. Whereas English-speakers call this the ’Good Friday’, Danes talk about the ’Long Friday’. This is the day when Jesus is said to have been nailed onto a kors (cross).
Påskedag [PAW-skeh-dah]. For Christians this is the most important day, as they believe that on this day, Jesus became alive again after having died. Even for non-Christians this is an important day in Denmark. Children receive påskeæg (Easter eggs) – chocolate ”eggs” said to have been laid in various places by Påskeharen (’The Easter Hare’). Many people eat lam (lamb) in the evening.
Anden påskedag [AN-n PAW-skeh-dah]. This is the Monday after påskedag. It is a public holiday in Denmark, and a chance to recover before everything’s back on track on Tuesday…
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