Although Easter is a Christian holiday, it’s also very much a celebration of spring. With pastel colours, flowers, treats and traditional Easter menus, we feel ready to welcome brighter days. Easter is observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. The holiday typically falls between March 22 and April 25.
In Europe, Easter is celebrated with a variety of customs and traditions. The nature of these celebrations varies from country to country.
In Sweden, children dress up as witches and go door-to-door asking for candy. The traditional Swedish Easter lunch menu resembles the Christmas menu quite a bit. Pickled herring, gravlax and Jansson’s Temptation (a gratin-style dish with potato, onion and anchovies) as some of the main attractions. For the Swedish Easter dinner, roast lamb with potatoes and asparagus is a popular choice.
Easter is a blend of Christian and pagan traditions. It’s common to eat lamb and other traditional foods like boiled eggs and Easter bread. Just as in Sweden, Estonian Children like to dress up as Easter witches. Estonians celebrate Easter Sunday by enjoying a good, long lunch in the company of friends and family. There are plenty of eggs involved in the celebration. Egg dying, Easter egg hunts and egg-knocking competitions all are on the list of Estonian easter traditions. To win an Estonian egg-knocking competition, you simply tap the end of your egg against your opponent’s. If your egg’s shell doesn’t crack, you win!
Easter is a time of renewal and rebirth. It’s customary to pour water or perfume on the heads of women in exchange for painted eggs or other treats. In smaller towns in the countryside, men also sprinkle women with water from buckets. Another common Easter tradition in Hungary is eating a sweet bread called “kalács” and decorating eggs using traditional techniques.
Easter is a big holiday in Norway. It’s common to celebrate with skiing and other outdoor activities and to spend time in mountain cabins. Leg of lamb, prepared in various ways, is a favourite on the Easter menu. In addition, many Norwegians decorate their homes with birch twigs and feathers. A very unique Easter tradition in Norway is to read crime fiction and watch TV series with detective and crime mysteries. Additionally, decorated Easter eggs filled with candy are popular as gifts for children.
In Finland, Easter is known as “Pääsiäinen.” The Finns celebrate the holiday by decorating eggs, having outdoor picnics and gathering around bonfires. Roast lamb with potatoes, gravy and lingonberries is often on the Easter menu in Finland. Another, popular Easter dish in Finland is “mämmi,” a traditional Finnish dessert made from rye flour and served with cream and sugar. Finnish children often dress up as Easter witches and go from door to door, offering decorated branches in exchange for candy.
The Danish Easter menu resembles the Swedish one with pickled herring, rye bread topped with different cold cuts, and Easter beers, often adorned with yellow chickens on the labels. In Denmark, children don’t dress as witches, as they do in Finland and Sweden, but they still get plenty of chocolate Eggs. Additionally, some Danes send “gækkebreve” (fool’s letters) to friends and family. A gække letter is an imaginatively cut letter with a small verse. The sender of the gække letter replaces the letters in their name with dots, and the recipient has to guess who the letter is from. If the recipient doesn’t guess the name of the sender, they owe the sender an Easter egg.
Sources: snl.no, Hungary Today, Aftenposten.no, Finland.fi, Sweden.se, Den store Danske, Visit Estonia
As you can see in the list above, each European country has its own way of celebrating Easter. But there are also similarities, such as eating lamb and decorating eggs. No matter which country you’re running a restaurant in, there are plenty of ways to treat your guests to creative Easter menus and events. Go the traditional route, and focus on Easter foods and customs that are popular in your country. Or invite guests to unique Easter events that showcase your kitchen’s creativity at full steam.
We asked the SEO keyword tool, Ahrefs, for popular Easter and restaurant-related searches. The result was the following search phrases:
Easter menus, Easter lunch and Easter takeaway are some other popular search terms in other European languages. In Denmark, for instance, påskefrokost takeaway, which means Easter lunch takeaway has 1300 monthly searches.
This indicates that there are lots of guests out there looking for restaurants that can help them make Easter tastier!
Most holidays are perfect excuses (as if one is needed) for creating a brunch event. And Easter is no egg-ception! Is your restaurant open during the Easter weekend? Consider putting together an Easter brunch plate or buffet at a fixed price. Guests who are having Easter visitors will welcome the opportunity to invite their visitors out for a scrumptious brunch at a nice restaurant.
Offer classic egg dishes such as poached eggs with salmon, frittatas, omelettes and scrambled eggs. What are the most traditional dishes on the Easter menu in your country? Why not add your own interpretation of these on the brunch menu? You could also go international, and create a brunch inspired by Easter dishes from around the world. Adding a vegetarian option will make your restaurant’s Easter reach a wider group of guests. A few daffodils in a slim vase on the table will bring an extra touch of spring to your Easter brunch!
Is your restaurant popular among families with kids? Then Easter is the perfect opportunity for a family-friendly restaurant event. Offer a set menu for the adults and another for the kids. If your location or restaurant layout allows, you can arrange a fun egg hunt in your restaurant or a nearby park.
Or why not create an egg-painting station where kids and their parents can unleash their creativity? Give the egg-painting activity a unique touch by creating natural egg dyes from food items such as beetroot, turmeric, onion skins, blueberries and spinach. Prepare for the fun Easter mess by covering the table with a wax cloth or newspapers. Share the colourful creations on your restaurant’s social media channels. The parents and kids will love to discover their Easter eggs pop up on Instagram or Facebook.
As with any Holiday that involves cooking traditional dishes for friends and family, many people are looking for a way to avoid spending hours in the kitchen during Easter. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it’s common for families to get together for an Easter lunch with cold cuts, pickled herring, and smaller hot dishes.
If an Easter lunch or dinner is a tradition in your country, you’ll be able to make many guests happy by offering one of these, or both, as a takeaway menu. Make your Easter takeaway menu extra memorable, by adding a couple of painted eggs or chocolate eggs in the takeaway bag or a postcard with a fun Easter greeting from your kitchen.
Offering gourmet Easter menus is another way to intrigue new guests and well as loyal regulars. Put together a spring-themed menu with ingredients of the season. The dishes on the menu don’t necessarily have to be traditional Easter foods. You can easily tie a neat Easter bow on your menu package by naming it something related to the holiday. Opt for three courses or more. If you create an event via your booking system, you can even ask for prepayment, to avoid no-shows and secure a better profit during Easter!
If you’re the owner of a Scandinavian restaurant, offering an Easter lunch with all the traditional dishes, such as pickled herrings, cold cuts, eggs and shrimp, and naturally, schnapps, is a sure way to attract more Easter guests. Or you can compose your own, unique interpretation of the traditional dishes, such as a Japanese or vegan Easter lunch to attract guests who are hungry for new Easter flavours.
Easter cocktails are another great way to celebrate the holiday. Your restaurant could offer a variety of options, including a festive Mimosa made with seasonal berries or citrus fruits, an Apricot Crush spiced up with cardamom and topped off with bourbon, or a herbal Gin Fizz. For guests who prefer something lighter and sweeter, you could craft a refreshing Lemonade Martini topped with matcha green tea. Or pair classic margaritas with fresh strawberries and rose petal ice cubes.
Of course, there’s also the traditional Hot Cross Bun cocktail; shaken up with whisky, nutmeg and orange bitters! For a truly unforgettable Easter cocktail experience in your restaurant, mix it up by offering both sweet and savoury options.
Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies have already started to appear in the shops. The first day of Easter 2023 falls on April 6, so you still have time to plan your restaurant’s events and menus. But starting early is always a good idea because many guests are already making Easter plans, and you want to be included!
If you want to read more about setting up events, you’re welcome to visit our event page here.