It’s been a year since the last time we decorated birch twigs with bright feathers and played the game of finding painted candy eggs. And one year from now we will (hopefully) do it all again.
Isn’t there something reassuring about the traditions that return year after year? The steady repetition of rituals give our lives a sense of rhythm and puls. The traditions offer a horizon to which we set the course to take us trough the dreary everyday. After Christmas – Lent. After Easter – Ascension Day. And so on and so forth. It feels predictable yes, reassuring, as I mentioned.
It’s been a year since we repeated the same familiar activities, sung the same old songs and ate the same old food. Funnily, we eat the same food on almost all our holidays… Only that this time of year the traditional Swedish Christmas drink Julmust goes by the name Påskmust – “Easter drink”. We all know it’s the exact same thing, save for the label on the bottle. And that is perfectly fine. After all, we don’t want any surprises when it comes to traditions. Same procedure as every year is the, now immortalised, line from a well-known black and white TV-sketch that many Swedes simply MUST watch every New Year’s Eve.
Easter is probably the holiday I most associate with stillness and contemplation.
In this break from the little dramas and mini-crises of the everyday, we may find time for each other and ourselves. And maybe it’s that journey inwards and the encounter of oneself that is most important, now that we have the time?
This Easter I contemplate concepts such as home, safety and family – a trinity that are mutually dependent on each other. Take away one of them and the whole equation collapses!
I think of all those who have lost their homes to the bombs of mad tyrants.
I think of those who are forced by the circumstances to live with someone who is emotionally distant, or even dangerous.
I think of all those who are so lonely in their secure nests that their homes become smothering.
I think of all those who flee their homes and who slept under the bare sky last night.
I think of all those who miss someone they lost, or who fear loosing someone they love…
A year has passed and the world is still the same old broken world.
Unfortunately, war and pestilence are recurring elements of our culture – shadow images of our holidays and traditions. Even in spite of our eternal efforts to shake loose ourselves from those dark stalkers, they always seem to sniff out our trails to break into our homes, break apart our families and to break asunder what little sense of safety we have managed to achieve.
This year I contemplate all this, and I grieve.
At the same time I hope for better days and I promise myself do to what I can, however small that gesture is, to ease the burdens of the world.
I hope for a brighter tomorrow. I hope for refuge for those who flee and I wish for a home for those who sleep on the ground or in a cardboard box in an alley somewhere.
I hope for, no I promise to be, a kind embrace for those who don’t have family or friends.
And last, but not least… Or actually, this is my smallest hope for the future but I still have to get it off my chest: I hope that no one ever comes up with the idea to innovate our traditions by introducing midsommarmust – midsummer’s drink. That would be taking it a tad too far!
And with these words my family and I wish you alla a Happy Easter.
His Serene Highness Prince Frei of Lorenzburg
Le printemps retournera – The Spring shall return