I took the Thursday of Easter week off, giving me five free days off in a row. This is nice as I get to write uninterrupted for several hours in the morning, my best writing time, for many days in a row, while it snows outside. Yes, it’s snowing.
Today is Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday (apparently) and, in Sweden, Skärtorsdag. Apparently it’s called that as “skär” is an old word for “clean” and the name refers to Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before the last supper. Or maybe that you clean the house for Easter. Personally I’d call it “Supper Thursday” but I guess that’s not mysterious enough.
The swedes take Easter seriously. Well, seriously in that they gladly take the holidays and go do family stuff, but not many of them do the whole religious thing the way we did when I was a sprog in Ireland. Back then, in school at least, the whole week was an uninterrupted stream of guilt and misery. The teacher on many occasions got us to draw men being crucified to death on a cross. I think I was ten then. Then there was the ash, the masses and the oddly-named Good Friday when not a single fucking thing was open and people embarked upon desperate train journeys because that was the only way you could buy alcohol.
We had eggs, though — proper chocolate eggs. The swedes have eggs too, but they are made of cardboard and just filled with regular sweets. Boo! Luckily you can get chocolate eggs in the English Shop. Half price all next week.
In Sweden, Good Friday has a far more honest name – Långfredag, or “Long Friday”. And that is the day in a nutshell / eggshell — long and miserable. Good for writing though. And for thinking about death and chocolate.
If you find yourself far from an Irish church and want to watch the Easter celebrations live, try this, one of my current favourite things: a webcam in an Irish nunnery. Streamed 24/7 for your holy convenience. I’m not being ironic. I do actually enjoy it.
I would leave with saying “Have a happy Easter!” but that’s not really the point of Easter. So at least have some chocolate. It’s what Jesus would have wanted.