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Rovaniemi to celebrate Easter with fervour

16 Apr 2019, 10:57 ( 3 Months ago)

DF Report by Ben Espinola
DF Photo.

Easter will be celebrated on April 21 this year in Finland as elsewhere around the world.

Easter in Finland has traditionally been celebrated in a variety of ways, with people representing a combination of multiple religious and cultural traditions on the day, which is a national holiday.

People in Rovaniemi normally go skiing, drive snowmobiles, go ice-fishing, visit parks and riversides with children in addition preparing food in open places during Easter.

Some, however, leave the city for long-distance journeys inside the country and abroad while some others prefer to spend the time in a quiet atmosphere in the countryside.

The Daily Finland spoke to a few city residents to know of their preparations for Easter this year. Although some of them do not have any specific plans, a few of them have detailed their plans.

Paksuniemi Marko, a visual designer said, “Easter holiday to me and my family is important because it is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every Easter, we are having a special dinner together.  We have Filipino foods since my wife comes from the Philippines aside from the traditional Finnish Easter foods on our table. In addition, we also attend Easter church services. This celebration to us is more on honouring and thanking our Heavenly Father for sending His Son Jesus' Christ for our salvation.”

A student Lauri said, “One custom is Virtonen. It basically can be compared to Halloween trick-or-treat. I didn’t do it but, I imagine it’s still practiced. Personally, I have no plans for the Easter, but when I was a kid we sometimes went to see a big bonfire.”

Another city dweller Heini Kesti said, “Virponen is a common Easter tradition. Children collect willow twigs and go house to house to and say a rhyme to wish health. It’s mix of east and west. In western Finland, children go out on Holy Saturday and in Eastern Finland, they go out on Palm Sunday. People also decorate their homes with rye grass. Easter is theologically the most important holiday, more than even Christmas, so more people go to church than usual. Easter is a time to be with family, to eat and to be with the children. We will probably go skiing.”

“While many people may not be aware of the origin or meaning of the traditions, many have religious roots. Eggs and seeds are symbols of the Resurrection. The church has several special services during the Holy Week and more people attend these services than a normal service draws,” Kesti added.

A woman with her two children preferring anonymity said, “We do not know what we will do yet. Maybe we will travel to my parents’ house or they will come here. The most important part of Easter is spending time with the family and for the kids to spend time with their grandparents.”

Mikko, who works at a hotel said, “Maybe I will have to work, but if not I will go eat with my parents. My mom usually makes dinner.”

Easter Sunday is celebrated in the Christian world as a festival marking Jesus’ rise from the dead and ascent to heaven.

Jesus told his followers before his arrest that he would be crucified and on the third day he would rise from the dead. Easter Sunday is the third day from Good Friday.

Christianity came to Finland from Sweden, beginning in the 11th century. At the same time, Eastern Orthodox Christianity began to spread into Eastern Finland from the Russian territories.

After the Protestant Reformation, Lutheranism became the state religion of the Swedish Empire, and also Finland, in 1611.