GOD PÅSKE (EASTER SUNDAY)
Easter, also called Påske (Danish) or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the Sun; rather, its date is offset from the date of Passover and is therefore calculated based on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March. Even if calculated on the basis of the more accurate Gregorian calendar, the date of that full moon sometimes differs from that of the astronomical first full moon after the March equinox.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages; and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs (symbols of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.
Here's What You Need to Know About Danish Easter Traditions
Danish traditions, Easter Eggs | © andreas160578 / Pixabay
Easter is celebrated in different ways in countries all over the globe and so, Denmark has its own traditions. If you’re visiting the country this time of the year and want to be prepared or just want to get an idea of what Danes love to do when celebrating Easter, this guide has everything you need. Gækkebreve, a lot of food, snaps and chocolate eggs are some of the things that are never absent from the Danish Easter.
During Easter, Danes celebrate mostly the arrival of springtime and with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday being national holidays, they find Easter as a good opportunity for a short escape to their summer houses. It’s not very common for Danes to attend church during Easter and there aren’t any special religious events taking place during the holy week. So, don’t expect to see grandiose celebrations like the ones during Semana Santa in Seville or processions like Epitaphio that takes place in Greece on Good Friday.
Danish countryside in spring | © Per Ganrot / Flickr
The weeks before Easter every child in Denmark that wants to get an extra Easter chocolate egg writes and sends gækkebrev. The senders of gækkebrevemust write a ‘teaser poem’ on a paper and then sign it with a number of dots equal to their names’ letters. Children are called to use their imagination and cut the paper into different shapes, include a snowdrop (vintergække), which is the first flower of the year, and make sure that their poem rhymes. If the recipient of the letter guesses who sent him the gækkebrev then the sender must give him an Easter chocolate egg and if not, then the other way around. Since usually the senders are children and the recipients are adults, it’s an unwritten rule and almost part of the tradition that the receivers never manage to guess the person behind the ‘fool’s letter’.
Danish Easter tradition,Gækkebreve | © Nillerdk / Wikimedia Commons
Eggs are part of Easter traditions in many countries and Denmark is no exception. Many houses are decorated with fake yellow or green eggs while chocolate eggs and boiled chicken’s eggs dyed in different colours never miss from the Easter lunch table. Many Danes hide chocolate eggs in their gardens for children to find on Easter Sunday, keeping a tradition that dates back to the early 2oth century alive.
Tivoli Easter Eggs Decoration | © David Jones / Flickr
Celebrating without a big table filled with delicacies, beer and snaps it’s not a proper celebration for Danes regardless the time of the year. For the Sunday Easter lunch, locals prepare lamb, boiled eggs, herring and other kinds of fish such as salmon. The special Easter beer, which is brewed only this time of the year, is, according to beer specialists, heavier and tastier than common beers so it’s a must to have it on the festive table. Finally, even though Easter lunch starts from early afternoon, all guests have to drink at least one traditional Danish snap. The high-levelled alcohol spirits must be drunk in one gulp after everyone has raised their glasses, yelling, “Skål” and Easter wishes.
Danish Easter lunch | © Andreas Hagerman / Flickr
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