Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Easter Phenomenon


First, and before we jump on the Easter train, I have to say that just yesterday the Hubs and my father-in-law went and picked up the bed we ordered from the furniture store. Our very first, real, fancy bed as a married couple. We're such big people!
It's HUGE too. We could easily fit a couple more pups on there!
The Hubs insisted on us ordering the biggest size that is offered here in Europe since he's a big man, and a viking and all that, and needs his sleeping room.
It's also VERY comfy, and we were able to personalize the mattress firmness so that my side is softer than his.
Mmmmm, sleeping bliss.

We bought our giant bed on sale a couple weeks ago, then picked up all new bedding that included lovely down duvets and two new down pillows, the day before the bed arrived for pickup.
I will also now brag that because we're awesome, had a gift card from the bed purchase, and shopped some Easter sales like pros, we also outfitted the giant bed with 6,000 kroner worth of soft stuff, and only paid 150 kroner ourselves.

Autograph signing to follow this post. HA.

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So I called and chatted with my Mom a bit the other day, and realized as I described Easter in Norway to her, that I hadn't ever described it to you all...and really, it is significantly different here in Norway than what at least I'm used to, growing up in the States.

First, and in case you didn't know, Norway does not have the same separation of church and state that the US is so proud of. There is a government/royal church entity, aptly named "The Norwegian Church". It is Lutheran, as Norway converted as a nation to Lutheranism right after the Reformation led by Luther in Germany.
So since the church is government regulated, all pastors and church employees are government employed, thus able to be reassigned at will. Also, the offering collection every Sunday then does not go to help pay their salary, it is always given to different charity organizations, week by week. Technically, Norway has something like a 95% Christianity/Lutheran population...except I would say about 80-90% of that population, are non-observers, and never go to church. This being because, unless you officially go and abdicate from the church via official government forms, you are counted in the Christian population. It's a bit weird. Nearly all babies are baptized here though, and nearly all teens go through confirmation...though confirmation here isn't anything like what I went through in the States.
They have to attend services, but other than that, it's pretty much like a social club. They don't have to memorize/recite anything, be part of altar guilds, attend bible classes, or anything else.

SO. Now that I've laid the religious atmosphere here (or lack of one) I can point out that much like any other time of year, church attendance is always low and spotty at best around Easter. The Hubs and I went to services last week for Palm Sunday (where the Weegies don't actually have any palm leaves, nor then ashes on Ash Wednesday either), and aside from the families observing a baptism, there was only a handful of people.
I'm expecting the same on Maunday Thursday, Black Friday and Easter. All of which I attend services on, and grew up doing so.

Now you might be asking yourself; "If they don't go to church on Easter, what do those Weegies do?"

Well...

Easter in Norway is rife with crime. Murder, detectives, who-dunit's, and various CSI groups. For whatever reason, and going back far enough for anyone in the Hub's family to remember, the Weegies respond to Easter by hunkering down and reading tons of mystery/crime novels, and watching episodes of CSI/Bones/NCIS (etc.) on television.

No joke.

Everyone that can, heads to their mountain cabins for what will most likely be the last good skiing snow/weather of the season, with the trunks of their cars weighed down by detective novels and Poirot DVDs.

All the bookstores, grocery stores, even the post offices hold big sales, and hawk their wears on crime/detective books in the couple weeks before Easter...and they tend to sell out even.

All kinds of crime and detective shows/movies air on television too...mostly from Britain and the States. DVDs from this genre are on sale and advertised for like crazy as well.

No matter how long I live here, I don't think I'll ever get used to the unique Easter vibe. I've never been one for that genre of television or literature, and the correlation of the season is just a little bizarre as far as I'm concerned. Did I mention that even wrapped around the milk cartons, comic-type art telling a mystery story is given, and milk drinkers are challenged to figure out who the culprit is, then buy the next carton for a new installment?
True story.

What better way to celebrate the resurrection of our savior then by reading a detective novel!

Or something.

In the States, other than all kinds of church services this time of year, my siblings and I also did a traditional Easter egg hunt that my Mom would faithfully set up in secret, the Easter bunny would come early in the morning while we were sleeping and fill our hand-painted, personalized baskets will all kinds of goodies (even a little present or two), then we would eat a big family dinner. This is, a pretty traditional type American Easter, and I know many others that grew up with the same-ish drill.

Well, my amazing family sent us TONS of Easter goodies, so we're set there. I picked up a couple dozen eggs today as well, since we even got a dyeing kit! (Which means next Monday, I'll be making the traditional giant bowl of egg salad.) I think that the Hubs' family might be heading to his uncle's mountain cabin for the weekend, so we might even be flying solo here at the house.

I know that I at least, will be heading to church, then munching on some Easter treats that the bunny brought me, all the way from the States.

What will you be doing for Easter this year? How do they celebrate where you live?