Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Starts Here

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A decorated Easter Birch Tree in the main square has become a new tradition in my town over the last few years. I think it started in 2011 but it might have been even earlier.

I was glad to find the tree up and decorated yesterday (Saturday) as that was a sunny day and perfect for a walk into town. (Today we’re back to grey and rainy… But I’ve got my pictures!)

In answer to a comment on my Friday post: I see this weekend as the beginning of Easter, because today is Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and people spreading palm branches on the ground in front of him.
(Matthew 21:1-11)

Having a certain lack of palm trees here in Sweden, we use what we have… which is birch! (We often also take bare branches into our homes for Lent/Easter and decorate them with coloured feathers and eggshells. So the birch in the square is just taking up an already existing tradition, and making it bigger!)

Palm Sunday starts the Holy Week – or, as we call it here: “Stilla veckan” = Quiet week.

15 comments:

  1. i just love this tree. and Easter starts on the Friday before here to...

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    1. I think most of us who do decorations at all often tend to want to start at least a week or so ahead, to be able to enjoy them more than just a few days, Sandra. :)

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  2. I agree with you that Easter starts on Palm Sunday. Perhaps the person who made the comment is not aware of why Easter is celebrated in the modern Western context. Perhaps she celebrates Eostre, the old Spring festival.

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    1. Now that conclusion is a bit too harsh, I think, Louise. Traditions and details of celebrations have a way of changing and getting mixed up in one another both inside and outside the Church(es). One can resent that, or embrace it, or just accept and try to understand why it happens. Actually here in Sweden if someone mentions "Easter Week" (påskveckan) you'd have to ask to make sure if by that they mean the week leading up to Easter, or the week after Easter, because traditions in that respect have changed over the years. So I'm not at all surprised if it's regarded differently in different countries.

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  3. It is so pretty! Just as pretty as a Christmas tree in it's own way. We have nothing like this here. You can buy little Easter trees to put on a table, but nothing this big.

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    1. I do think the big Easter trees in public places in some towns is a new tradition, Ginny, and in my town of course it fits in with all the other efforts in recent years to decorate the town with both permanent and temporary forms of street art.

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  4. The weather was indeed perfect for your pictures, Monica, they have turned out so beautiful!
    I did not have time yet to go to the palace grounds to look at Easter decoration there, but maybe I'll manage (weather permitting) this weekend.
    Feathers would be an unusual decoration here.

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    1. I suspect the tradition here of decorating with feathers may have something to do with the cold climate, Meike. When Easter comes early, and especially in the North, the might not be any flowers available. But if you had hens, you'd also have feathers. People have always been creative in coming up with decorations even when they have very little to work with.

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  5. I shall just comment on the general concept of Easter. My understanding from the Western interpretation of the Christian Calendar is that Easter starts with Easter Day. The week running up to Easter Day is Holy Week culminating in Good Friday. The fact that fewer and fewer people celebrate the Christian Festival and celebrate a commercial holiday is to be regretted if one is a Christian. As for the sarcastic comment that perhaps she celebrates Eostre is quite unnecessarily offensive and patronising.

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    1. I'm sorry, Graham - I really did not intend this post to stir up any heated discussion. Possibly just some notes on different customs in different countries and cultures and families, which is something I always find interesting. See also my reply to Louise above. I guess to be on the safe(?) side, I should have entitled my post "Easter Celebrations Start Here" (because obviously, they do, in my town).

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    2. Monica I wasn't getting at you or trying to correct you. I was just intensely irritated by the unnecessarily offensive and patronising comment by Louise. I made the original comment on your last post simply by way of letting you know that I'de read it. It was not meant to be a criticism or correction.

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  6. The tree is great, what a nice tradition to start.

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    1. The extra splash of colour is very welcome this time of year, Janet!

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