Norwegian Language Blog

Easter in Norway Posted by on Apr 7, 2010 in Culture, Holidays, Nature, Traditions

As you well know, this post is a wee bit overdue.  Nevertheless, let’s talk påske.  Pronounced ”poask-eh,” Easter in Norway is a long awaited hellidag(er) (holiday(s)) that lasts for nearly 1 week.  Easter vacation in Norway lasts longer than in most countries.  The following are the days of Easter på norsk:

Palmesøndag-you guessed it, Palm Sunday

Skjærtorsdag-Maundy Thursday

Langfredag (refelcting the long and endless day)-Good Friday (reflecting the opposite of how you might think of the day)

Påskeaften-Easter Eve

1. påskedag-Easter Sunday

2. påskedag-Easter Monday

For ungdom (youth), påske is synonymous with ferie (vacation).  Påskeferie begins the afternoon before Skjærtorsdag and ends after 2. påskedag, which makes for a nice, long spring break-about one week!  If you are a student in school, your break starts the weekend of Palmesøndag and lasts until Wednesday after 2. påskedag.  Wow!  In most countries that celebrate påske, Skjærtorsdag and Langfredag are not offentlige helligdager (public holidays), but they are in Norway and that means everything is closed and people are relaxing.

You may have read or heard somewhere the stereotypes surrounding påske in Norway.  It is rumored that all Norwegians take off for the mountains on skis and reside in little cabins in the mountains, only skiing and reading påskekrim bøker (Easter crime books).  While some Norwegians do some or all of these activities, they are not all-encompassing like we are led to believe.  Far fewer Norwegians escape into nature than did decades ago.  Many choose to go south to Greece, for example, rather than up into the Norwegian mountians.  Like most of us that reside in cooler climates for the majority of the year, Norwegians like to head south for some heat and sun when they get a break too!

As for påskekrim, it is definitely a tradition in Norway to read crime novels during Easter break.  Consult an earlier post of mine from last year to read more about påskekrim.  It’s quite an interesting tradition, don’t you think?  Although the exact origins of the tradition are unknown, it makes sense to me that people residing in the far north surrounded by dramatic natural scenery, with a long spring break, a declining interest in religious affairs, authors who come out with exciting crime thrillers and TV producers  who do the same, all that the media advertises the hell out of, would indulge in påskekrim, ikke sant?

The following is a list of påskesymboler (Easter symbols) på norsk (religious and not):

korset-the cross

påskeliljen-the Easter lily

vårblomster og kvister-spring flowers and twigs

solen-the sun

lammet-the lamb

påskehare-Easter bunny

påskekylling-Easter chicken

påskepynt-Easter decoration

I have yet to experience påske in Norway-when I studied abroad, I went to Germany to be with a friend during påskeferie.  Something to look forward to!


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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. aries:

    Your post is very interesting because I live in Asian country – Korea, and there is no Easter Holidays.

    I have one question : In Easter, do you think about Easter things such as The Jesus Revival or just enjoy holidays? 🙂