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:
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
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.