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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6, Easter. In Finnish, it’s called pääsiäinen.
Easter, like most places in the world, is celebrated sometime between March and April in Finland. It is one of the oldest and most important Christian holidays.
In this lesson, we will discuss how Easter is celebrated in Finland.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know any other names that the "Holy Week" can go by?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, or in Finnish Jeesus, but many Easter traditions held by Finns were originally pagan, or pakanallinen in origin, and are closely tied to the longer, brighter days of spring. Easter week, also known as Silent Week, begins with Palm Sunday, or palmusunnuntai . The Easter holidays consist of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.
On Palm Sunday in Finland, children dress up as Easter witches, or pääsiäisnoita in Finnish, and go around the neighborhood with colorful willow branches they decorate themselves to carry out the so-called virpominen. This is an act, where, while waving brightly colored willow branches and reciting a rhyme, the Easter witches wish happiness and good health to the receiver. As a reward, the little witches usually receive chocolate eggs, or suklaamunia. The flamboyant willow branches symbolize the palm leaves from Palm Sunday and the arrival of spring. Willow catkins and birch twigs are also placed in vases in homes, and Easter rye grass, or rairuoho, is grown to celebrate spring and life.
Mämmi is the most traditional Finnish Easter delicacy. It is a malted, sweet rye porridge which is prepared from rye malts and rye flour. Mämmi is usually served with whipped cream, milk, or vanilla ice cream. Pasha, in turn, is a curd dessert that has spread to Finnish Easter tables from the Orthodox tradition. Chocolate eggs that contain small toys and Easter drops are also a part of Easter. Savory delicacies include different kinds of lamb and fish dishes, blood sausage, and baked cheese.
In the past, it was believed that during Easter, good and evil forces were in constant conflict. Smoke and sparks were believed to expel witches and evil spirits, so large stakes and Easter bonfires were a common sight on Easter Saturday.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know any other names the "Holy Week" can go by?
Holy Week is also known as a Torment Week or piinaviikko, and each day has its own special name, each related to an episode of the week preceding Jesus’s resurrection—Palm Sunday, Beam Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are there any special Easter traditions in your country?
Leave us a comment to Finnishpod101.com, and see you again in the next class!