The Easter bunch or påskeris is an old tradition kept in the modern home. Spring is here and after a long white winter it is nice to refreshen the house with nature. In the south of Norway the grass is usually out and the buds are flowering at this time but in the north, we are still covered in a thick layer of snow. It is hard to see spring in the north as early as April but it is there, it is just hidden, waiting.
The trees have been sleeping for the winter. In the spring they still look like they are snoozing but underneath all that snow and bark life is flowing, ready to burst out when the sun is strong enough.
The Easter bunch is made of twigs from trees that are just waiting for the first chance to see the new season. The usual trees to search for are birch and willow. They have twigs with woody buds on them.
Making the Easter bunch is a whole family affair for us. A week before Easter, usually Palm Sunday, we take a trip onto the farm and find the perfect twigs for our bunch. This year we chose birch. Sometimes we go down to the river for willow. We look for branches that have a lot of woody buds as this will help to hang more ornaments and will give a surprise for Easter Sunday.
We cut off enough to make a big bouquet, and keep long stems on the twigs to be put into a vase. We use a knife as it makes a cleaner cut for the twigs are certainly not dry inside to make a clean snap.
Back at home the twigs go into a vase with water. We have family craft days leading up to Palm Sunday and so get out our handmade ornaments to have a decorating party.
The usual decorations are hanging eggs, feathers and coloured string. We have little hands in our family so the kids paint eggs and use stickers to decorate.
And, of course, a Norwegian decorating party wouldn’t be the same without cake!
The most exciting part about the Easter bunch is watching it change throughout the week. In the cold winter snow the twigs lay dormant but as soon as you bring them inside in the warmth and put them in water their life starts to move.
By the middle of the week the woody buds pop open with little green fluffs of freshness from the birth twigs. Twigs from willow trees pop out a furry ball of green and white fuzz – beautiful and delicate. As the week continues to Easter Sunday the little leaves open out making a beautiful addition to the Easter bunch.
Norwegians love to bring the wonder of nature into the home for Easter.