Finnish Easter Traditions
To the Christian world, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Christ, but it also celebrates the arrival of spring. Finnish Easter traditions also combine these characteristics.
Well before Easter, children plant rye-grass seeds in little pots. Green grass is a sure sign of spring, even if it only grows on the windowsill. Pussy willows are ancient Easter decorations, and birch twigs are placed in vases, where they soon start budding.
Palm Sunday begins the 'silent week' which ends with the double holiday of Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. On Palm Sunday, people may greet their friends and relatives by whisking them lightly with virpovitsa willow twigs. It used to be an old custom in Eastern Finland, especially in its Orthodox areas, to wish people luck by whisking them with decorated twigs.