Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

Mary Ann's Fulbright Exchange to Oulu, Finland
August 2001 - June 2002



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28 March - 1 April

John and I laid low over the five days of my Easter break, John recovering from the flu and me from a sinus infection. The weather was glorious, warm and sunny. We took some nice walks and read – very relaxing.


Easter Traditions in Finland

On Palm Sunday the children dress up as little witches. They ring your door bell carrying a decorated pussywillow branch. They present you with the branch and recite a poem:

         Virvon, varvon,
         turceks’ terveeks
         tulevaks’ vuodeks!
         vitsa sulle
         palkka mulle!
         Rauhallista Pääsiäistä

         For fresh,
         for health
         for the coming year!
         The branch for you,
         the treat for me!
         Have a Peaceful Easter


After they recite the poem, they hope that you will give them some candy or money (similar to our Halloween).

This custom is mixed with the pagan ways, where in the spring when the witches came you wanted to please them, so they would grant you good crops. The pussywillow branch is a sign of spring and it reminds me of the palms being carried on Palm Sunday.


31 March 2002, Sunday
Sunrise/sunset 0557/1830
Hi/low 44°F/24°F (7°C/-4°C)

On Easter, we spent a lovely day with the Marbach family. We took a wonderful walk along the Oulujuki. Ritchie and Katherina had already found all the eggs the Easter Bunny had hidden by the time we arrived in the early afternoon. They had even hidden some eggs for their parents to find. Birgit had made a delicious beef roast – what a treat! We had such a pleasant Easter, then, as we were driving home around 2300 I looked up into the clear, starlit night and I saw something shimmering in the sky. I said, “John I think I see the Northern Lights.” We drove out to where there are fewer lights. We could still see the lights shimmering but they were not very bright. We have now experienced the Northern Lights twice, but the best was on New Year’s Eve.


The Easter holiday starts on Maunday Thursday and goes through Easter Monday. Many people go away during these five days. From the neighbors and my colleagues I didn’t get a sense that people go to church on Good Friday or Easter. The stores are closed on Good Friday, Easter and Easter Monday.

Mary Ann

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Starting an evening walk. You can see that the pathways are clear and the snow is getting thinner. (3466)

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These girls were the first children to ring our doorbell. (3444)

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Here you can see them presenting us with the decorated pussywillow branch. (3446)

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This group sang their poem. (3451)

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Kalle and Ossi bring us a vase of pussywillow branches they decorated with their mother, Marjo. (3456)

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The pussy willows continue to provide color in the room. (3845)


Last Update 2002 04 16

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