One of the most confusing aspects of moving to Sweden was an odd springtime tradition that starts appearing around Eastertime.

Every spring, stores set out
big stands with sticks in them
and brightly colored artificial
feathers tied to the sticks.
In bright, glaring Easter colors,
purples and pinks and yellows
and greens. And people buy
them! Big bunches of
them! It took me ages
to get up the nerve to
ask a Swede what
was all about (not wanting
to offend anyone by not
appreciating this obviously
significant ritual).

It turns out that Swedes take the tiny tree branches home and put them in a vase of water. In a week or so, leaves bud out on the branches to give people faith that spring really is on the way after the long, hard winter. The brightly colored feathers are just there to give the dull twigs a splash of color before the leaves start budding.
Swedish phenomena
- Red houses
- Signs
- Winter darkness
- Feathersticks
- Easter hags
- Going Postal

Funny stories
- “Is that in Europe?”
- The Good Ship Vasa
- The openness principle