1. Decorating Pajunkissa
Transform your garden willow in time for Easter! Willow ‘Pajunkissa’ is a plant which flourishes at Easter time and is believed to have been laid down in Jerusalem for Jesus Christ’s entrance. In Finland, it is traditional for families to decorate their home with Willow twigs. Add feathers, ribbons, hanging egg decorations or other craft items you can find, to add colour and fun to your new Easter tree.
2.Practising the Virvonta Rhyme
During the week, Finnish children practice the all-important Virvonta rhyme, which will be often repeated on Easter Saturday;
“Virvon varvon, tuoreeks terveeks tulevaks vuodeks. Vitsa sulle, palkka mulle!”
Which translates as;
“I wave a twig for a fresh and healthy year ahead: A twig for you, a treat for me!”
Witches are not just a Halloween tradition in Finland. It is believed that mischievous witches roam the streets on the run-up to Easter Sunday. This is often replicated by children who dress up as Finnish Easter-witches, or Trulli, brightly dressed in headscarves and apron with freckles painted on their faces. They visit neighbouring houses and exchange their decorated willow twigs for Easter treats (think Easter style trick or treating!).
Fear not, as bonfires are lit to repel evil spirits and witches (not the children of course!). In previous years larger towns in Finland, including the capital Helsinki, would have a bonfire for the whole community to enjoy.
4. Planting Rye Grass
Planting Rye Grass in shallow pots is a traditional decoration in Finland - a symbol of new life and spring awakening after the long winter. Rye seeds are planted and grown in advance, ready to be trimmed on Easter weekend. You can then add decorations such as dyed eggs or bunnies to sit amongst the grass or make a traditional Easter ‘Resurrection Garden' adding a flowerpot for the tomb, a small piece of white cloth to put inside, a large stone, a cross made from twigs and twine, and roll back the stone on Easter Day!
5. Easter Lamb
Lamb is an uncommon meat in Finland but a tradition at Easter time. This rare treat is served with mint jelly or berry sauce with mashed potato and various seasonal vegetables. Cold cuts and pâtés also feature, alongside various egg and fish dishes such as fish roe, marinated herring.
6. Mignon eggs
Described as the most Finnish Easter egg, Mignon eggs have been created by Finnish confectioner Fazer since 1896. Using real eggshells, each egg is filled with liquefied cocoa by hand, holding one eggshell at a time under a faucet. The eggs are also packed by hand to avoid cracking.
In order to eat a Mignon, you have to peel it like a hard-boiled egg, revealing a round, solid, chocolate. For anyone who likes to decorate, dye or paint eggs for Easter, Mignons are great: they don’t need to be cooked or emptied, they don’t smell and they keep longer! We think we’ll put our order in for next year!
7. Easter Desserts Mämmi
Mämmi is a delicious Finnish dessert that can be made from store cupboard essentials. The main ingredients are rye flour, dark molasses and raisins and topped with cream or milk. It replicates traditional Finnish flavours of liquorice and has a similar taste to wholemeal bread. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing, it has been served on Easter Sunday since the 16th century in Finland.
Try your own Mämmi this Easter – follow this very easy recipe.