Happy Påske! The merry Easter holiday is almost upon us, as the fifth week in March is about to turn a corner. Easter is one of the biggest and most important religious holidays in Denmark, and it is easy to see just how important it is to Danish merrymakers. Shops and homes are decorated with brightly-colored eggs and vibrant daffodills, and there kitchens are abuzz with preparations for each family’s Easter feast.
It all starts with a religious celebration at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the national church of Denmark and the largest Christian church in the country. After the religious ceremony, both children and adults have the Easter meal to look forward to. Sumptuous spreads with roast lamb, fish, or chicken, a few egg dishes, and chocolate eggs all ’round. The adults also may have a few bottle sof special Easter beer chilling in the icebox, meant to be savored while the children scramble to hunt for more chocolate eggs in the garden. They can also roll their brightly-colored easter eggs down a slope, declaring the one whose egg stays intact the longest the winner.
Another fun tradition is gækkebrev – participants fold pieces of paer and cut out elaborate and whimsical designs on it, then write a teaser note, signed with dots in place of the letters of the sender’s name. The recipient is supposed to read the note and guess who it comes from. Should he or she make a correct guess, the recipient wins a chocolate egg; if in three tries the recipient fails to guess the correct sender, the sender then happily collects his or her chocolate egg winnings.