Daffodils have been everywhere this month — they seem to be the Easter (Påsk) flower of choice, and the stands on the street sold them for 10 SEK for a bundle of 10, clipped and closed, with green-yellow heads that opened as soon as you put them in water.
As soon as Easter passed, these bundles disappeared, but daffodils are still everywhere. I bought some bulbs for the porch pots, like all of our neighbors did. But I get the feeling we might have been the only people in the building that had a seder for Passover!
Matt and I had a seder for two, with Swedish flat bread sans yeast (tunnbröd) that was perfect matzah, and sharing a copy of the Haggadah I grew up with as a child. We opened the door wide and I belted out the song for Elijah, which echoed through the hallways.
I love Passover — it’s a great family holiday for me, and I missed mine this year. But our two-person seder was so cozy. I really enjoyed cooking and preparing just for me and Matt (who patiently participated!). The grocery store clerks were very patient with my charades as I attempted to find horseradish, called pepparrot (or pepper root), in the grocery store — you can pull one from a bin next to the potatoes and carrots, all year round, it seems.
The following weekend was Easter, which here in Sweden is a four-day weekend. Matt and I had deadlines, so we kept working, but I suspect a lot of folks headed out to their vacation cottages (landhuset) to be with their families. Our offices were empty on “Long Friday” and the following Monday.
We had pleasant weather all weekend — a bike ride and a picnic in the Djurgården near the water on Sunday, and I managed to sit outside some on Monday afternoon with friends. Cool mornings have made me think of crisp fall days on my bike ride to my new office space, but the afternoon sun feels hot like summer!
Easter in Sweden is also a holiday of witches — the kids dress up and pass out drawings in exchange for candy, *almost* like American Halloween. If you go to the Nordiska museum, they have a mannakin dressed up like a witch and strung up in a torture device, with metal implements arrayed around her. It’s really disturbing. I imagine that this has something to do with spring as the cleansing season. It makes me uncomfortable. Ah, religion!
Today is the last day of April, and tonight Swedes will light bonfires and sing traditional songs for Walpurgis. My mom is in town visiting, and we are hoping to find a good bonfire — possibly at Skansen, the historic park here.
And of course, tomorrow is May Day — a day for not only welcoming spring, but celebrating workers. If you live somewhere in Europe, you get a Labor-Day-like holiday — and here, according to my friend A’s 20-year-old son, because it’s a weekend, and it’s been warm, it will be a day of drunken rowdiness in public parks!
One of my new colleagues said that when warm weather comes to Stockholm, it often sticks around for a little while. This spring heat wave (15°C, or somewhere in the 60s) may end up being our warm summer. We’ve had no April showers, only flowers, so I am wondering what May and June will bring for weather.
Matt said to me this morning that April is the month of change. For us it certainly has been — the purchase of an apartment and the return of spring and sunlight. The pleasant weather and steady sunshine is almost like a drug. It’s been a really nice month.