Danish Easter traditions for newbies

How to fully enjoy the Danish Easter traditions with a few must-try experiences and ideas on what to eat, drink and do during this Danish holiday.

Danish Easter trivia

Påske - the word originates from the ancient Greek word ‘paska’ and the Hebraic word ‘Pesach’.  Read on to learn a little about how the average Dane celebrates Easter.

We wil not go into the Christian festival but instead we’ll introduce a few must-try Danish Easter/Spring experiences and focus on what to eat, drink and do during the holiday in Denmark.

When

Påske [Easter] does not fall on a fixed date. It takes place in March or April the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March.

Now that we got all the dull facts out of the way, we’ll get on to the more interesting stuff like how to celebrate Easter Danish style and take full advantage of this Danish tradition.

Danish Easter traditions

Easter in Denmark in 50 words or less

Easter in Denmark involves lunching with family and friends. The Easter lunch is a lavish affair with plenty of food and alcohol. Chocolate eggs are popular too and if you have a sweet tooth, we recommend sending a gækkebrev or two [fool’s letters]. You can also make your own Easter schnapps [aquavit].

Common Danish words for Easter

Below you'll find a few Danish words and phrases for Easter in Denmark. Click on the icon to hear the pronunciation:

Påskeæg [Easter egg] During the Easter holiday, the Danes eat a lot of chocolate – mostly Easter eggs made of chocolate or marzipan. Some families also dye or decorate real eggs to use for decorations or presents.

Vintergæk - Danish word for snow drops

Gækkebrev [Fool’s letter – snowdrop letter] An old Danish Easter tradition involves sending teaser letters with a riddle. The letter is cut out and decorated with vintergækker [winter fools - snow drops] The paper cut-out includes a little poem or rhyme.

Danes send the letters anonymously. They are signed with dots that correspond to the number of letters in the sender’s name. If you guess who sent it, you get an Easter chocolate egg. But if the recipient doesn't guess who sent it, they must give a chocolate egg to the sender. 

God påske –  [Good Easter] is the greeting to use, when you want to wish someone a great Easter holiday.

Påskelilje  [Easter lily - daffodil] Spring flowers are popular in Denmark. After a long and dreary winter, the flowers signal that Spring is finally here. Buy a bunch of daffodils or a pot with snowdrops for friends or neighbors.

Danish fool's letter

How to join in?

The Danish Easter holiday is all about enjoying Spring and reaching out to friends and family after a long Winter. Chocolate eggs and other Easter sweets are sold everywhere, so we encourage you to join in. Pick snow drops for gækkebreve, prepare an Easter lunch and spend the holiday eating chocolate and drinking Easter brew. 

Must try foods or beverages

Påskefrokost  [Easter lunch] Easter lunch is a lavish affair in Denmark. Traditional dishes include lamb, eggs, salmon and herring. In true Danish style, a proper Easter lunch also involves Easter brew and schnapps.

Påskebryg  [Easter brew – strong beer] Just like Christmas, Easter has its own beer. Easter brew has probably been made in Denmark as long as the Danes have been Christians. Tuborg’s Easter beer, which is still sold today was produced for the first time more than a 100 years ago. Danes REALLY like their beer and its definitely worth a try 🙂

Inspiration for your Danish bucket list 

Join the Danes when they celebrate Easter. Make your own ‘gækkebrev’ or how about your own Easter schnapps? 

How to make a 'gækkebrev'

To make your own gækkebrev, you'll need some paper - use ordinary white writing paper or buy a few sheets of yellow paper, if you want to be a bit festive. 

  1. Take a piece of paper and fold one of the top corners down to form a square.
  2. Cut off the excess part of the paper so you end up with a triangle.
  3. Fold the triangle once or twice more to make an even smaller triangle.
  4. Cut of the top to make the letter round.
  5. Now you can make small cuts along the edges of the triangle. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to make hearts and other shapes using a sharp pair of scissors. 
  6. Unfold the triangle and write your verse and don't forget to write your name with dots.

Find better instructions than ours.

Danish Easter verse:

Mit navn det står med prikker
Pas på det ikke stikker 

My name is written with dots
Be careful it doesn't prick you

Or how about ...

One letter on each line spells my name
It's up to you to guess my little game
But if by Easter Day
The answer hasn't come your way
Then you owe me a gift -- what a shame!

_______________

Snowdrop, snowdrop, snowdrop fine
omen true and hope devine
from the heart of winter brings
a delightful glimpse of spring.
guess my name i humbly beg
your reward - an easter egg
let these puzzling dots proclaim
every letter of my name

Make your own Easter schnapps

We are not huge fans of Danish schnapps ourselves. However, you might want to make the effort for Easter: 

Easter schnapps with apple and lemon

1 bottle of schnapps or vodka. 
2 apples
The zest of a lemon
2 dried star anise flowers
4 dried crushed juniper berries

Mix the ingrediens and leave the schnapps to infuse for 3 to five days. Pour the schnapps through a coffee filter and it's ready to drink. Enjoy!

Leave the schnapps for a few more days to enhance the taste.

How about you?

Leave a comment and tell us of your best experience with Danish Easter.

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