14 April, 2019

All you need to know about Easter in Sweden

Easter in Sweden is a great mixture of tradition, fun, dressing-up and eating enormous amounts of candies. As you probably know, Sweden is a secular country, so Easter is not a very religious event. But, for sure, it’s a great family time, full of colours, blossoming nature and delicious food. Read our short guide and get ready for Easter in a truly Swedish way!

Basic Swedish Easter words:


You’ve probably seen it in every store over the last month. Speaking simply, påskris are branches with colored feathers that Swedes use to decorate their houses at Easter.


There is no tradition of giving Easter presents, except this very special (and delicious) one. Påskägg is an egg-shaped box (usually made of paper or metal), filled with all types of candies.

Speaking about eggs, did you know that the average Swede eats 4,1 eggs every Easter?


Påskkärring – the Easter witches.

The legend says that the witches were flying on their brooms to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain) to dance with the Devil. They were leaving on Maundy Thursday and coming back on Easter Day.

Nowadays girls dress up as witches on Thursday before Easter and try to get some candies from their neighbours.


I’ll probably put the cat among the pigeons by saying this, but Påskmust is the only part of Swedish Easter that I really stay away from.

But if you like chemical sugary drinks then you can enjoy Påskmust not only at Easter, but also at Christmas (then it changes its name to Julmust, but tastes exactly the same).

What to eat

Here comes the controversial part.

When I asked what is traditionally eaten at Easter in Sweden (we write about what it’s traditional Swedish food here), the most common answer was eggs and herring. Everyone agreed on that.

But when I asked about Janssons frestelse, which was mentioned in a lot of sources as the traditional Easter dish, a big fight between Janssons frestelse’s supporters and ‘I eat Janssons frestelse only on Christmas‘ group had begun.

Fortunately, one magic word ended up that strange discussion. That word was gravlax. It’s a very easy-to-make dish, but it takes some time, so if you want to eat it at Easter, you need to prepare it at least a day before. Here comes the most basic recipe.

Home-made Gravlax



  • Salmon fillet 1200g
  • Salt 400g
  • Brown Sugar 200g
  • dill 3 glasses
  • Pepper 3 tbs, ground
  • Juniper 1 tbs


  1. Mix salt, brown sugar, pepper and juniper and put 1/2 of the mixture in a filet shape.
  2. Put the fillet skin-down on the mixture
  3. Spread the rest of the mixture over the fillet.
  4. Sprinkle the dill.
  5. Cover the fillet with plastic wrap. Place the cutting board or another heavy thing to weigh the fish down.
  6. Let it chill for 12-24h.
  7. When ready to eat, slice the gravlax thin with a sharp knife.

Is Easter in Sweden different from Easter in your country? Do you have any favourite traditions that were not mentioned here? Share it in comments!

And for all of you, very special wishes of…

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Ada Juraś on Instagram
Ada Juraś
My name is Ada and I come from Poland where I study Linguistics for business. I am passionate about Swedish art, design, politics and culture. I've been living in Östermalm in Stockholm since 2017.

2 Comments on “All you need to know about Easter in Sweden

Ian Free
17 April, 2019 at 05:54

Thank you for your work with Newbie! I am an oldie (88 no less) but I still go to Swedish language class once a week. It is taken by a native speaker, a lovely lady who used to be an air hostess. I contribute with a printout from the Radio Sweden Nyhet på lätt Svenska site,
which we listen to from my mobile phone, through a Sony wireless speaker.

I learned my Swedish in Stockholm in the 1950s when I worked in a bookshop for two years. I also became engaged to one of my fellow workers. In New Zealand, we both finished up teaching English at a university. That is what leads me to my last point, which is a comment, not criticism. Instead of writing “on Easter or Christmas”, the usual preposition is “at”. Damn those prepositions, so hard.

Igen, tack för allt att du gör, jag gillar det!

Ada Juraś
18 April, 2019 at 18:43

Thank you, Ian, it’s done! 🙂

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