Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Easter traditions

Anneli Kanto 2017 : Vilma Virtanen virpomassa
illustrated by Noora Katto

The five Virtanens are back! Or actually they never left. There has been a steady flow of books . This time Easter is just around the corner and on Palm Sunday it is tradition (at least in some parts of Finland, I know that in Ostrobotnia this tradion takes place on Maundy Thursday) for children to go ask for candy. Just like they go Trick or Treating for Halloween in the US. Only on Easter the kids dress up as witches and now cats and bunnies. They also decorate willow branches which they give in return for the candy.

The Virtanen's have planned to do the branches during the week, but all of sudden it is Saturday and it is snowing. The kids have very low motivation to get the branches. But they do. All the children decorate with their own style, even the boys are motivated, due to the chocolate they will get as payment.

Decorating willow branches for Easter
The youngest, Kastehelmi, wants to dress as a princess, which is ok. The first lady they want to wish good health tells them not to mix the western tradition of Easter witches to the Easter branch tradition of the east. Vilma, who is a bit shy and introvert, wants to go home. Luckily the younger kids encourage her to come along.

In the next house, Vilma forgets the rhyme! She panics, but Kastehelmi knows a rhyme, but it is not the right one. The lady in that house helps the children with a start and then Vilma remembers the rhyme too: "virvon, varvon, tuoreeks terveeks..."

When you are on a Easter tour, you have to be brave, thankful and polite. A lot for small children. When you read this book, as a parent, you also understad that not everything has to go by the plan. And let the children learn by doing.