To Americans the witch is associated with Halloween but here in Sweden it is associated with Easter (Påsk). The old traditional story is that on the Thursday before Påsk the witches fly away to meet up with Satan. On the 30th of April large bonfires are lite to scare the witches away so that they wont return. But that is for another post coming soon to a webpage near you. Nowadays children dress up as witches on the Thursday before Påsk and often seek candy from neighbors similar to Halloween in the United States. A traditional decoration for Påsk is to take birch branches and cover them in colored feathers. This is called Påskris. The påskharen brings godis (candy) which is an Easter hare instead of an Easter rabbit. Eggs are painted not dyed (äggmålning).These are just some of the traditions that make this a Swedish holiday.
According to www.sweden.se :
While in other countries Easter is specifically a religious holiday, it has become a secular one in Sweden. . . Many of the practices associated with Easter have religious origins, but this is not something that bothers Swedes much.
Fjälkinge Backe is the hill in east of Kristianstad just north of Fjälkinge in Skåne in Sverige . It is a granite outcropping surounded by the Kristainstad pains. At one time it was part of a mountain before warmer temperatures raised the sea level and flooded this area of Sweden. This was about 100 million years ago. The granite mountain was covered over with a thick layer of sediment. Fjälkinge Backe is one of a few places where erosion has revealed the higher areas of the now hidden granite mountain. On top of the hill there is a great view of the of the surrounding area.
One of the first signs of spring in Utah is the arrival of the robins. In Sweden it is the arrival of the cranes or tranor in Swedish. From their overwintering place in Spain they arrive in the Southern part of Sweden in March and April before heading further north for the summer. The newspaper last week estimated that there would be over 12,000 cranes in Pulken this week.
Cranes are Europe’s biggest bird. They can be up to 1,3 meters high (4.2 feet) and weigh between 4 – 7 kilos (8.8 to 15.4 pounds). They can live between 25 to 30 years. The young can fly when they are about eight weeks old. The young will migrate south with their parents. They start to breed between four and five years old.
Every spring the cranes arrive in an area called Pulken just outside of Åhus. Pulken use to be a shallow lake but is now just a puddle hence the name Pulken. In order to prevent the cranes from spreading out through out the sounding farms and eating up all the winter wheat and newly planted crops they are fed grain every day while they are resting there before resuming their journey to the north.
I was unable to get any good pictures but I found a couple of videos. The first one is from Pulken. You get a good idea of what it is like going to see the cranes. You can hear the people talking in the background and the cranes trumpeting. In the second video you can better see the cranes but I am not sure where exactly the video was made other than somewhere in Southern Sweden.