The big hunt is on!

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Easter bon fire 2011 (Lithprint)

Already! Last night I saw two guys and a Christmas tree on a moped. One of the strongest traditions on the islands is hunting for Christmas trees. Children of all ages, including some childish adults, start collecting trees for Easter. They hide them away in garages, barns and even wells and man-holes. It’s not a challenge to be taken lightly on, there are numerous fights and break-ins during the hunting period. It’s all a build up for the big Easter bonfire. Well, fires plural. Come Easter eve the trees are brought out and stacked on two of the highest locations on Hönö, depending on what part of the island you come from. Of course all the other islands are in on the game and have their own bon fires. There are actually two fires at each location. One smaller one called Fuskefyren (the trick-fire) which is lit first to fool the other part of the island to light their fire first, although everyone knows this it still goes on. The winner is the one who lights their last and of course with the most trees. It does get out of hand sometimes, there is a lot of rivalry going on and mixed with large amounts of beer and fireworks on top of that, you join in at your own risk. A friend who is born on the island told be about when she was a teenager and watching the fire being lit. Not only wood was put on fire but they had stacked car tires on top. When the trees burned down the tires fell of. She found herself running down the hill, in darkness, slightly intoxicated chased by burning tires…

7 thoughts on “The big hunt is on!

  1. I found this so interesting – youths in Northern Ireland do exactly the same and get equally excited about bonfires to celebrate the 12th of July. Of course, this is a political commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, but over the years growing up, I watched the boys hoarding things just as you described and getting somewhat carried away by the act of burning it all on the eve of the 12th. I’m sure the majority of them forgot all about the political connection.

  2. Well, since Hönö was a fishing community in the old days, not many boats left now sadly, it has been influenced by other countries. There are words in the island dialect wich are very similar to words in gealic and looking at my grandmothers old schoolbooks there are a lot of International names. Interesting to hear about your bonfires! The urge for burning things seem to be pretty world wide spread…

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