Happy Spring: Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome!! Swagat, Dumela, Valkommen, Jee Aayan Noo, Tashreef, Bula, Swasdee, Bienvenido, Tashi Delek. Thanks for joining me.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Paskris: Swedish Easter Tradition

Feathers, Colors, Eggs and Birds: Happy Spring

Come Spring, in Sweden you start to hear the birds in the forests and around your house (although funnily enough you hear some throughout the winter--truly swedish birds).feathers on sticks start to be sold in the shops, along with many wreaths made of feathers….

Paskris, or easter twigs (literally easter-rice) is an Easter tradition in Sweden.  The twigs are taken from supple birch trees that are finally enjoying being able to feel the sap in their veins, and are standing erect in affirmation of their own life. 

As, we all know, many of the Christian holidays/celebrations were imposed on pagan celebrations to convert/transform Pagan celebrations to christian celebrations. So, easter is actually a celebration of resurrection of nature from the dead.  Sweden, is one of the few countries, though christianised as kept many of its pagan traditions. 

Swedish Easter Witches---one of Sweden's and parts of Finnland tradition--is a celebrated by dressing young girls as witches and boys as old men.  Some of its traditions are similar to Halloween--as in trick or treat. Girls and boys dressed as Häxa (witch) or Gubbe (old man) go door to door with a  copper kettle (not that common anymore) looking for treats, in exchange for hand drawn paintings. The tradition comes from old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the weekend before Easter to meet with Satan, and on their way would pick up young children for their meal.  Swedes would light fires to scare them --a practice still prevalent today to light bonfires--and dress young children as witches and old men to confuse the witches. Every easter there are also Påsk (easter) parades, where children, dressed up in costumes, accompanied by parents and a loud band, announce the arrival of spring.  The above pictures were taken at the parade last year. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Colorful Cocina (Cooking)

India is known for colours, down to every plate--Even the food served is colourful what with spices and flavours.  Here it is colourful in the real sense.  The above picture was taken in a famous South Indian restaurant in Delhi. The green is not just in the mint chutney, but also of the banana leaf that the food is served on. The milk White of the rice cakes (Idli) brown red of chutney and rust brown of the sambhar (curry that is served with Idli) stand out next to the green of the leaf, and shine of the stainless steel spoon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Many cultures have a bon fire tradition in spring, which symbolises burning the old, beginning the new!! Its interesting that the tradition related to 'fire' exist all over the world.  This picture was taken in Sweden in 2014 on the Walpurgis Night, when Swedes welcome the beginning of spring on April 30th, every year.