We listen to holiday music around Christmas and watch spooky movies before Halloween, but there’s not much Easter-themed media to consume in the United States. Head to Norway this time of year and you’ll come across an Easter tradition centered around books, but instead of happy tales of flowers and bunnies, they prefer gory murders.
According to Visit Norwaythe habit of excessive reading Paskekrims (or “Easter crimes”) during the Easter season dates back a century. The Sunday before Easter 1923, the front page of the Norwegian newspaper post office announced a train robbery on the country’s Bergen line. The sensational title was actually an advertisement for a new mystery novel with this premise, but many readers took the fictional statement as fact. The book garnered enough attention to become a bestseller, and today it is considered the first Easter mystery novel in a long Norwegian tradition.
Norway is famous for its whodunnit. The country’s long, dark winters provide the perfect setting for disturbing stories, and readers have no shortage of Nordic Noir to choose from this Easter.
Although Easter is associated with mild weather in the United States, Norway is stuck at the end of winter in March and April. It is common for families to head to a cabin (or hyt) for a skiing holiday at this time of year. Workers also have more free time for Easter in Norway than in the United States, and all that free time spent in a cozy cabin environment makes Norwegians want to read a good mystery.
If you’re looking to spice up Easter this year, consider bringing your favorite mystery novel to your family reunion. Reading on a holiday is not such an unusual tradition; at Christmas, Iceland celebrates Jólabókaflóðiðor the annual Yule Book Flood.
[h/t Visit Norway]