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Easter Panic

21 April 2011

Norway has a state Lutheran Church, which means that religious holidays I have never even heard of provide the opportunity for a day off of work and school. For example, everything is closed on Ascension Day – you know, that really big holiday 40 days after Easter? And during the Christmas season stores are closed from the day before Christmas Eve (which is called “Little Christmas Eve”) through the day after Christmas (called “2nd Christmas Day”). Coming from the world’s biggest and best nation of shoppers, I find it hard to focus on the coming birth of Christ when all I can think is: will the kids want cheese crackers in the next four days? Will five litres of milk get us through? Four days with all shops closed – even restaurants, and yes, even McDonald’s – makes me extremely nervous. Mostly because I’m bad at planning for all eventualities, but also because sometimes I don’t know what I want until I want it.

Nothing, however – not even Christmas – holds a candle to Easter. Easter is government-mandated holiday madness. The kids are out of school for ten days in addition to the ten they already had for Winter Break in March. Most Norwegians go to their cabins for a final hurrah to the ski season. The cabin-less destitute must find something, anything to do despite the fact that almost everything is closed (except, oddly, for museums and movie theatres) for a whopping five days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday (or “1st Easter” as Norwegians call it) and Easter Monday (“2nd Easter”). Some shops are open for a few hours on Saturday, but experience has taught me that there is nothing to be gained by beating through the masses for the one lonely pork roast left at the bottom of the freezer. A closer look revealed that the hairs of this little piggy were poking up through the plastic wrap. This was Easter dinner three years ago.

The following year I went to the grocery store the Tuesday before Easter and shopped for an Armageddon-like scenario, piling my cart to the brim with $600 worth of food and supplies. While stuffing the four emergency bags of tortilla chips into the cupboards at home I breathed a sigh of relief that we were going to survive Easter. But then, on Maundy Thursday, Day One of No Shopping, I heard my husband shout in desperation: “Any chance you bought more toilet paper?”

I wonder if Norwegians are more cut out for this no-needs lifestyle because of their Viking ancestors who spent months at sea without panicking over whether they had all the things they might possibly crave in the boat. Or I am just the sad product of a nation whose president proposed that one way to fight terrorism after 9/11 was to keep shopping?

This year I was feeling fairly confident. Even though I left my grocery list at home on the table, and even though my mind raced to ensure that I had every possible ingredient necessary for cooking Easter dinner plus a 32-pack of toilet paper, I believed we would survive this Easter Season need free.

I believed this until last night at 8 p.m. when I was pruning some bushes and cut through the extension cord with the hedge clippers. No big deal, I thought, I could wait until next week to finish the job. But then Aidan came out to tell me I had also blown two fuses in the house.

I sigh. And with a good deal of shame I admit that on Easter Sunday I be will celebrating a little bit more than the risen Christ.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenn Ladino permalink
    21 April 2011 17:05

    I think it was Ascension last year when we went last-minute shopping for a two-year-old’s birthday party…only to realize every store was close. Except the gas station, that is. Who knew you could find adequate gifts in those little coin machines outside of gas stations? We ended up with a Rubiks Cube inside a plastic case. Not bad! Sorry about your fuses, Jena.

  2. 3 April 2012 13:34

    Finally someone understands the craziness I’ve been living with for 23 years!

  3. dionne permalink
    6 April 2012 20:23

    This made me laugh! Fantastic blog, will be following! Thanks for reminding me it´s ok to talk about the differences! 🙂

    • 10 April 2012 09:46

      Thanks so much for commenting, Dionne. Talking about the differences is how I figure out (or remind myself?) of who I am. 🙂

      • dionne permalink
        10 April 2012 19:29

        Wow, i was saying the same thing to a friend today! I used to (and if i´m honest, still do) feel nervous at sharing my thoughts…the differences, in case it was taken as a criticism. But it´s merely noticing the differences. Which is ok! Because we´re all different! 🙂

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