Sunday, April 25, 2010

Still here

This short post is just to assure everybody that we are still here, living happily in Sweden. There was not that much going on the last few weeks except for nose-to-the-grindstone work, but we are still enjoying our life here. The snow has now almost completely melted, here and there you may see a little ice heap where a few weeks ago was a mountain of scraped snow. It is beautiful to see the flowers come out. Everywhere you can see bright coloured tulips and other bulbs sticking out their heads. The birds are also coming back and a cheerful colourful spring is starting everywhere... the quiet, white winter wonderland is just a far off memory now. We are looking forward to some exciting developments and happenings in the near future so stay tuned. We are moving in a weeks time to a new flat which we need to furnish from scratch. To move house can be a bit of a predicament if you dont own a car. But we will tell you everything about our 'setting up house' adventure in our coming post. Coinciding with our relocationing is a big festival celebrated annually in Sweden but especially in Uppsala - Valborg (aka Walpurgis Night). I include a link to the Wikipedia article about Valborg if you want to read all about it ( Our coming blogs, however, will have first hand footage.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Påsk i Sverige

Easter in Sweden is celebrated more seriously than in South Africa. The reason for this may be the long tradition of pagan festivals predating the christian festivals. These festivals are in celebration of the coming spring and the re-emergence of life after the long dark cold winter. The festivities starts on Skärtorsdag (Maundy Thursday) with children dressing up as witches (see picture below) and going from door to door collecting candy in metal teapots. This is based on the myth that all witches flew to the mythological island Blåkulla to dance with the devil.

Långfredag (Long Friday), is traditionally a very somber day and celebrations are frowned upon. We spent the day cycling to the city to feed a colleague's cat, stopping with some coffee to enjoy the scenery.

Saturday is a normal day and most Swedes are out in preparation for spring and summer. This includes cleaning their gardens, wiping away the last bit of snow and ice and buying or dusting their bicycles.

Påsk Sunday is spent with the family with a traditional Easter dinner. An important part of the dinner is food that signifies the re-birth of life and the coming of spring such as boiled eggs with caviar and lamb.

Today (Monday) is also a holiday and people can recover from the
Påskafton gluttony. We planned (as many Swedes probably also did), to have a picnic to consume the leftovers and watch the last snow melt away. However, when we woke up this morning we were greeted with a beautiful new coat of snow. We decided to spend the day indoors with hot coffee watching movies, which is just as nice.

Still looking forward to spring.