The custom of feasting on food in Easter has been maintained also in the modern Protestant Finland, although the Lenten fasting ritual, practiced among the Catholic and the Orthodox, is not practiced among the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church.
Finnish Easter is a mixture of western (Swedish, Catholic and Protestant) and eastern (Russian and Orthodox) traditions.
The affect of the two different cultures is most visible in the traditional
dishes served during Easter time.
Meat, fish and egg dishes
Serving Easter lamb, the symbol of the sacrificial death of Christ for the Christians, is becoming increasingly popular in Finland.
The traditional roast leg of lamb, usually seasoned with herbs and garlic, may also be replaced with dishes made with lamb fillet, roast, chops or ground meat.
Picture on right: broiled fillet of lamb with boiled carrots, potatoes and chanterelle ragout.
Boiled, butter-glazed vegetables or oven-roasted root vegetables, onions etc, are typical accompaniments for these dishes.
Besides the roast lamb, other meat dishes served are stews and potroasts of mixed meats, various cold cuts, meat aspics, liver pâtés etc.
Also chicken dishes are popular at Easter time as well as various egg dishes and appetizers.
Freshly cooked, marinated or salted fish along with herring dishes are a part of Finnish Easter. Smoked salmon, gravlax, various fish roes and marinated herring are especially well suited to be served with hard-boiled eggs.
Southeastern Finland has a rich tradition of different pies and pasties, like the famous Karelian rice pasties.
Desserts and Easter eggs
An ancient Easter dish still commonly eaten in Finland is the cold malt porridge mämmi (in picture on right).
It was perfect food to be eaten on Good Friday, when lighting a fire and cooking was forbidden. Nowadays mämmi is mainly eaten as dessert.
Read more about mämmi here.
Other desserts served at Easter dinner may contain lots of eggs, cream, butter and quark, like pies with sweet quark filling, cheese cakes or creamy mousses and parfaits, served with fruits and berries.
The best-known desserts, however, are of Russian origin paskha, a sweet quark pudding eaten with kulich, a rich, sweet yeast bread (in picture on left).
During the Orthodox Easter fast, it is forbidden to consume meat, eggs and dairy products.
As these items accumulated during the fast, that is why many Orthodox Easter dishes and desserts are rich in eggs, butter, cream, quark and other dairy products.
Egg is considered as a symbol of resurrection. Decorated Easter eggs became known in Finland through Russia and the Orthodox people.
Hard-boiled eggs are dyed with various colours before Easter.
On Easter Sunday, the dyed eggs are handed between people of Orthodox religion, and children will always get chocolate Easter eggs from their parents and other relatives.
In picture above:
A traditional Finnish Easter egg "Mignon" is made by filling a real eggshell with chocolate nougat (praline paste). The eggs have been handmade
by the Fazer confectionery manufacturer since the year 1896.
According to the Orthodox tradition, people may sometimes bring the food that will be served on Easter Sunday in church to be blessed by the