Book review, Traditional Art, Travel

Easter in Norway

norway

Norwegian Easter Traditions

Easter is a time when Norwegians head for the hills, or in Norway’s case, the mountains.

Most families have a cabin they own in the ‘fjeller’ – or mountains, decorated in traditional Norwegian ‘Hytte’ style. ‘Hytte’ means cabin, plural ‘Hytter’, in Norwegian.

Hytter are timber cottages decorated with Norwegian crafts such as Traditional Rosemaling Art, woodcarving, weaving and embroidery, with mostly rustic interiors, fitted with benches topped with reindeer furs, (sitteunderlag), and other traditional furnishings.

Norway
Tradition Norwegian embroidery decorates the windows

Norwegian ‘Hytter’ Mountain Cabins

Hytter, or cabins, are quite rudimentary houses, partly because of the remoteness of their locations and partly due to the Norwegian tradition of getting back to nature. Visiting a family mountain cabin at Easter is a therapeutic time for Norwegians to ski, breathe in the fresh mountain air, relax and for a short time, not rely on everyday modern conveniences.

Norway

Beitostølen

So when I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Hytte in Beito, high up in the Norwegian mountains with Norwegian friends, how could I resist?

The area known as Beito is part of the community at Beitostølen, an elite skiing location where the likes of the Norwegian Olympic ski team spent their time. Norwegian-Australian friends who heard I was going to visit Beitostølen, were quite rightly jealous, reacting with comments like,

“That is where the ski team practice.”

“Do you realize how lucky you are to be going to Beitostølen?”

I did. It was different to any other holiday I had experienced.

Mountain cabin
A Norwegian Hytte

The Hytte at Beito comprised three timber cabins, with adjoining composting toilet and washroom; that would later hold a shower at some point in the future.

The cabins, themselves, were not equipped with running water, so we sponged ourselves using a bucket, with water sourced from the nearby spring. Fetching the water is a chore that would traditionally be delegated to children.

Living as I do in Australia, meant things like fetching water in the snow proved to be a novel experience. I was the first to volunteer for this task as it was another chance to be outside in the hushed, cosy silence of the snow-covered hillside.

If it meant I was to traipse through knee-deep snow to collect water, those mediative moments of silence, amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery, inhaling fresh Norwegian air and hearing only my muffled footsteps, were merely a comforting, restorative practice for me.

snowy mountains
Norway

Norwegian Hytte Meals

Hytter meals are simple, apart from breakfast. The traditional hytte breakfast is a feast of eggs, salmon, cheese, bread, jam and vegetables, such as cucumber and carrot and also perhaps some yoghurt/kefir or waffles. Our bodies needed lots of food, ostensibly, to keep warm and active out in the snow.

Lunch is almost non-existent, but really after the filling Hytte breakfast, who needs lunch? A Norwegian chocolate bar, known as a ‘Quiklunsj’ (Quick lunch), or an apple, would suffice.

Dinner is mostly a laid back affair of home-made soup, cold meat such as lamb or boiled sheep and bread, or ‘Lompe’ – basically a hot dog, with a bread-like wrap made from potato flour, cooked on the outside barbeque or grill, of course.

Things to do at the Hytte

Skiing Bitihorn Beitostolen Norway

We spent the daytime out of doors, unless it was snowing heavily. We skied, tobogganed, slide down snowy slopes with the ‘akebrett,’ a paddle like slide, or the snow bike; walked about in snowshoes, built snow castles, threw snowballs and made plenty of snow angels, and snow “candles,” just because.

Once darkness arrived, it was time to ‘play’ inside, talking, drawing or Rosemaling – another Norwegian tradition, which is actually my great passion. If it was snowing hard outside during the day, there would be more Rosemaling as wells as card games or puppet shows, for the children. We read books too, as there was no TV, nor phone reception, unless you visited the grocery store a few miles away.

Rosemalt kubbestol

To get into the full spirit of the Norwegian Easter experience, I read one of the rivetting crime novels from Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbø to complement my surroundings. He is a compelling writer and if you have not come across him before, you can read a Book Review.

The Hytte was good, clean fun and a really healthy, energetic holiday.

Was it cold by Australian standards?

Yes, but did I like it?

Absolutely. I loved it.

Being at the tail-end of a Norwegian winter, the weather towards Easter is generally calm, without storms. After a cold night, the sun could be so warm, my face became tanned!

During these sun-filled days, the Norwegians would enjoy sitting against a sunny wall, their face upturned towards the sky, taking in much needed Vitamin D that their bodies had missed during the long, dark winter. They even have a word for this kind of activity: Solveggen.

Warming the soul and the body!

This is what the Norwegian Easter did for me, too!

Hand-painted-Easter-eggs-from-Budapest

Wherever you are in the world, you can still travel virtually. When are you going this Easter?

In the words of Norwegians, God Påske.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Linking to Trent’s #Weeklysmile

Easter Holiday Norway Fieldfare CabinNorwegians, Easter, cabins and crime literature belong together like horse and carriage – a tradition that started over 90 years ago. Here you can find out how to celebrate a typical Norwegian Easter.

First: Ensure that you have skis – either bought or borrowed. Also, make sure you have ski wax even if you are not sure how to use it. There is always someone along the tracks that can help a ‘forlorn wretch’.

When it comes to clothing it is important that it has red color, preferably with a home knitted wool sweater that smells of last year’s bonfire.

But wait a minute. If you do not know it already: Norwegians love skiing, especially at Easter, and many go several miles to their cabins where to spend the vacation. Surprisingly many people ski into a different era where outdoor toilet, drafty cabins and totally deserted landscape are considered paradise.

Easter Holiday Norway skiingAnyhow…

View original post 681 more words

56 thoughts on “Easter in Norway”

      1. Surely Madam.. 😊 Ice and Snow are the ideal stress busters and can make any landscape beautiful, don’t you think?
        I can understand you. I live in India with zilch Ice or Snow.
        If you like Ice, do check out my posts on Russia.. Hope you will like them.. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow it’s nice to read about the Easter custom in Norway. The cabin in the hills is perhaps equivalent to summer cottages by the lake that Swedes and Finns have? So much snow in Easter time up there, I wonder if it’s been the same in these past years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the snow in Norway is coming later and leaving earlier, Pooja. Some parts the snow has already left, but high in the mountains there is still enough to ski. May that continue. I think the Swedes cabins and Finnish lakeside cottages are exactly the same principle. In Denmark they call them sommerhus, as there is no mountains to retreat to!
      Have you noticed winter is changing in Poland?

      Like

  2. I’m still in touch with my Norwegian penpal from school days who lives just south of Oslo but has two family cabins, one beside a lake and another high in the mountains. I’ve had the pleasure of staying in both of them over the years and your post reminds me of the happy times we spent together there. In recent years I’ve spend long summer days in a Finnish lakeside cottage which was equally beautiful. Were so lucky to have warm weather here now, I’m not even wearing a cardigan but haven’t disposed of tights just yet but maybe tomorrow if the temperature edges up a bit. Sitting in our large garden listening to the birds chirping and eating freshly baked hot cross buns and drinking tea – I’ll never take my lovely home for granted any more. Take care Amanda and a very Happy Easter to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Easter to you Marion. I too am answering your lovely comment, in my garden, on my alfresco area as the builders called it, overlooking my yard and snacking on my breakfast – a Norwegian one at that! You are so very fortunate – firstly to have a lovely yard and sunshine to enjoy a cup of tea in and secondly, to be able to travel so frequently to my favourite parts of the world. Do you realise how perfect, a lakeside Cottage in Finland, or a cabin in Norway, (whether it be at the fjord or high in the mountains), is to me? I know I have ex perienced both, but even so, these things are so very far away from me and takes me so long to get there, that I feel a teeny bit envious of your location just now.
      Enjoy your Easter at home. I might put a hot cross bun in the oven for morning tea. They are delicious!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the perfect subject for a blog post. Beautiful setting, a unique experience, cute lodgings, and fun activities. I’ve been to Norway but I stayed in a hotel. It looks like I missed out on a lot of fun.

    Like

    1. Hi Darlene! I am so glad you stopped by on this post. Your experience in Norway could have been more traditional if you have known about some of these secrets. The Hytter and Stabbur are some of the more authentic Norwegian cultural experience. I do tend to seek them out in the countries where one travels, however, one has to know about them in the first place to seek them out. There is always next time. I highly recommend staying in a Norwegian Stabbur as well. You can read more about that experience here. https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/numedal-valley-in-norway/

      Like

  4. I loved reading about Easter customs in Norway. My husband’s mother was Norwegian — born in the US of Norwegian parents.

    When we lived in England, we stayed in a hytte for a few days in the summertime. It was somewhere between Oslo and Bergen. Of course, there was no snow, but the wind was never-ending. I’m glad to have seen your photos showing the snow and the strong sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I wrote that post, I was conscious of the fact that some folks in the North would not be able to relate to my delight in snow, living in a tropical country. However, the Norwegians seem to enjoy the last fling before everything melts. This year, most of it has already melted, presumably due to weather changes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do love winter, and am a snow person, or was, but have become a bit less of one since I don’t ski as much. It occasionally snows here in October and I’ve seen a large May snow storm, but most years there is snow on the ground from early December to late March, though a season can stretch from late-November (ski resorts near us open in mid to late November) to mid-April (most ski resorts close the 1st of April). As to “Home by the Sea” – I am started to set up my retirement house by the the sea. Although it is close, there is far, far less snow there, and most of it melts pretty quick, so… I can see how living in a more tropical country, snow at Easter would be exotic.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. 175 years old! That is amazing! Nearly as old as my country! Are you restricted in what renovations you do or what external colours you use for heritage purposes.
              What a wonderful privilege owning a property like that.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I think we are outside of the historic zone, so don’t have to follow the codes for that and the house isn’t listed, so… One thing you have to remember, there have been English speaking people on Cape Cod since the 1620s. (Plymouth is where the cape hits the mainland). So the house is very old, but there are far older ones about – 7 years ago, when I bought the cottage we are selling, we looked at a house built in the early 1770s, but it would have been too expensive to repair. And I’ve seen a few going back to the early 1700s. It is a wonderful privilege to own such an old bit of property.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Amazing 1770 was when the British discovered the East coast of Australia. Hearing of old residences like that, always blows my mind as our history is short. I can imagine that house would have some stories to tell?

                Liked by 1 person

              3. I’m sure these old houses have a lot of stories! Old houses do have a ton of personality. And that is the thing I like about the US East Coast, the deeper history. OK, parts of the US have much deeper “history” if you include ancient cities and dwellings of the native people. And Europe has a much deeper history, but walking through a town like Boston, you can almost feel it.

                Liked by 1 person

              4. Wow! Those beams and wall panelling, even the stone work oozes snapshots of historic life scenes in my head! It even looks like these old houses could make great setting for ghost stories.

                Liked by 1 person

              5. The book? I wrote the rough draft about 3 years ago. I just picked it back up last fall and have done three drafts since then. I’ve been taking a break from it, so I can go back with fresh eyes, and hope to do a final draft in May.

                Liked by 1 person

              6. Yes the book. Great that you have picked it up again. I have book that is a wip with another blogger – not sure it will ever get finished as she has become disallusioned with writing! Still it has been a fun thing to do so far. Is that what got you into blogging?

                Liked by 1 person

              7. Yes, I started blogging after I wrote my first book, The Fireborn. In the 6 1/2 years since then, I self-published that book, another novel, two books of short stories and a book with two novellas. So keeping busy there. I’m a little burnt out on it, so may take an even longer break when this one is done (I already am taking a slight break – it was almost a year ago that I put out the two novellas…)

                Like

              8. I am using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. The paperbacks are available outside of Amazon, but electronic versions can only be Kindle using this,but that is fine.

                Liked by 1 person

              9. I think we have to promote ourselves in order for the public to find us. It is hard for folks who are modest, but otherwise we do not reach the people who might enjoy our products. I sell custom designed fabrics through an online store. It is a niche market, but if I do post a tweet or share on social media, I notice the sales increase for a short period. It still remains only a small hobby for me, but a lesson that promoting does work. There is a fine line though between promoting as I have seen some bloggers (not you) mentioning their book in almost every second blog post which becomes tiresome for the reader. I wish you luck with your book sales. What is the name of your books?

                Liked by 1 person

              10. Promotion is tough for me. I’ve had times when I hit it pretty heavy, and other times when, well, you wouldn’t know I had books… The First novel was The Fireborn and the the other is The Halley Branch. The Two books of short stories are Seasons of Imagination and Embers. the book with two novellas includes Towards the Light and The Mad Quest. I can post a link to page with links to them all… 😉 But this is a comment on your post, not mine, so only if you want.

                Liked by 1 person

              11. Thanks 🙂 Instead of the link with links, I will link to a post i did late last year. I listed the books in the order I published them. I included a cover shot and the blurb.

                Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband has family in Norway, we were there last June, they live in the south part of the country, we stayed at their summer ‘cottage’ near Farsund. We toured a lot of southern Norway with them, it was just beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very lucky to have family there. Southern Norway is gorgeous – full of scenic rocky inlets and picture postcard coastal towns. Did you have good summer weather there last year?

      Like

Everyone is important. What do you have to say?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.