The Easter holidays are coming closer, and for many Norwegians this means the last chance to put on their cross-country skis, pack their bags and travel up to the Norwegian mountains. A perfect Easter is considered a long week in a cabin, hostel or hotel together with friends or family, where the sun shines every day and it’s even possible to ski wearing just a T-shirt!
The Norwegian Easter holidays are from the Thursday before Holy Saturday until the Monday after, but many Norwegian choose to take the three days before off, and thus have a 10-day holiday. Schools are closed and the usually buzzing cities of Oslo and Bergen suddenly seem quite empty.
So what activities are popular amongst Norwegians during Easter? You can’t get away from the skiing, that’s for sure. Usually, snow has disappeared from large parts of the lowlands around Oslo, but up in the mountains there is still a lot of snow. And there are certain do’s and dont’s when it comes to the skiing trips in Norway. First of all – the mountains can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention to the nature around. The Norwegian Trekking Association has made a Norwegian Mountain Code, a set of rules to be followed before you go out into the Norwegian nature. Read it and make sure you follow the tips, they are there for a reason.
On a lighter note, Norwegians love to bring very specific snacks to their skiing trips: it has to be the biscuit chocolate Kvikk Lunsj and oranges (don’t ask why…). Usually, these are eaten somewhere along the ski slopes together with hot cocoa or coffee. It is often said that Norwegians that meet out in the nature are more relaxed, friendly and helpful than when you meet the same people in the city – skiers say hello to strangers and smile. This should not be mistaken with the word “LØYPE” – often shouted – which means “get out of the way” because there is a faster skier coming in high speed behind you.
For Easter, you are also supposed to curl up in front of the fire place and read crime novels. Preferably a lot of them, and the more violent the better. Some of the crime novels are even about people on Easter holidays in the mountains, to make it even scarier…
The Easter Egg hunt is also popular amongst many people, where you hide eggs and chocolates and have the children (and adults!) go search for them. Another tradition is to paint Easter eggs, often beautifully decorated and hung up in the windows in houses and cabins.
If you’d like to experience an authentic Easter holiday in Norway, we do have some tips for you: Geilo is a small town which most Norwegians associate with winter sports. Geilo Hostel has fantastic “ski in-ski out” facilities, where you literally can put on your skis outside the hostel door and enter the magnificent mountain area. Also, Høvringen Hostel has great facilities for small and large Easter celebrations – including a yearly Easter Parade where people dress up, and a service in the nearby chapel. Combine this with a groups of friends, plenty of Kvikk Lunsj and skiing trips to nearby cabins for coffee and waffles, and you have the ultimate Norwegian Easter holiday!
Article written by Ragna Skøien