Relaxing and gathering strength after Easter…we had a fantastic time! A little while ago we had an expert on trees out to look at our three christmas trees in my garden for a price suggestion. They weren’t pretty but I really wanted to keep them since my grandad planted them a very long time ago. He planted one for each child, he had four but didn’t plant one for the youngest before he accidentally drowned out fishing. During this year one of the trees died and the others looked dying. I would be very expensive to cut them down. I spoke to a neighbour about it and day before Easter three Christmas tree hunters(in my age) knocked on the door claiming to be tree experts and asking if they could take one of the trees as the centre piece for the big bonfire, how happy was I?? So they turned up in larger numbers on Easter eve morning, cut it down, dragged it behind a car and pulled it up the mountain!
I stayed for many hours watching everyone build the bonfire. All the trees that kids around the island had collected since Christmas where brought out in daylight and pulled up the mountain. It’s a huge family convention, kids from the age of 3 to adult help out and have a great time.
The whole tradition is not only positive, there are a lot of break-ins and fights but overall I think it’s fantastic and hope it carries on for many years to come. In the old days they put a lot of tar, led and whatever they could find that burnt on the fire which caused toxic fumes but now it’s mainly trees and this year they used oil from the chip-shops.
In the evening we went to watch it burn, 1319 trees, lots of people and an amazing feeling! The day after we returned and my tree was still there, kept upright by metal wires, still smouldering many hours later.
So the tradition on the islands are still going strong. There is nothing else as controversial if you don’t count “build a bridge vs keep the ferries”. I try to not let my personal views out too strong in this blog but I do love the xmas tree hunting. Comparing to the old days it is so much healthier now and since one or two years ago, the council put some effort in to it trying to stop people using car tires and petrol etc, now we’ve had the cleanest bonfires since probably like ever! We went up to the nature reserve to watch them build the fire earlier today.
This year we went for the largest fire on the Island. Since we moved here we have gone to Kanonberget but this year there was a big landmark for boats put up right where the bonfire usually is and I also think that fire will die out soon because of lack of interest. So we went to the biggest one, in Rö(Hönö Red) we have all heard lots of horror stories about that one, people being put in hospital, burning tires chasing people down the hill and a four wheelie being overturned into the fire. But this year we came away with the feeling that we miss the usual bonfire. There is usually at least one crazy person shouting, a few people letting off fire works in the crowd and the happiness when you actually make it up the mountain through all the shrubberies and cliffs. Comparing to the big crowd, lit-up way to the top, our usual fire felt much more intimate and fun. I hope they will start it up again next year!
A nice visit
Feels like it was Easter yesterday but now it was a few weeks ago. Easter is always exciting on the island though. We had Airbnb guests staying upstairs and brought them along to the fire. This year we decided to break our tradition to go see the largest fire on Hönö. Since we moved here we have every year gone to “Hea”, after all the stories we heard about Hönö “röd” with fights, burning wheels rolling down the mountain and such we’ve chosen to take the kids to the more family friendly fire. So I must say I had some butterflies in my belly this year but turned out it was completely unnecessary. There were loads of people, adults, youngsters and children but most of them very well behaved. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsarah.lycksten%2Fvideos%2Fvb.651592990%2F10153638295007991%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560” target=”_blank”>Here’s a little video taken just after the fire was lit. This year the council had gone out with warnings saying that everyone starting a fire had to have a permit and if they found oil, tires or other things apart from Christmas trees they would take the fires down. Plus they said there would be more police on the Island than had ever been(to this my son replied -what, like three?). We had a nice time but next year we’ll be back at Hea, it felt more like “our” fire. We didn’t have any more guests over Easter, usually we have a big bash with new and old friends but this year apart from the airbnb’ers it was just the family. One week earlier I happened by the food shop on the next island and found them selling really nice pigs meat, perfect for bacon. So I bought some for my husband, he salted it, I rubbed and massaged it every day and Easter eve he smoked it together with some salmon. Homemade bacon, we’ve wanted to try that for ages. It was so awesome! So easy and so much flavour. Since Easter days have sped up. To the point that I’ve lost track of the days. I did get really enjoyed and sent an email to complaining about not having received my morning newspaper for two days. When they replied saying that according to their records I only have a weekend subscription I thought I would sink through the floor. This was on a Wednesday and I had worked over the weekend and because the kids had Easter holiday I thought it was the weekend…
There’s been a strange buzzing of activity on the island over the past few days. On every corner a group of kids on bikes and old worn Volvos driving around stacked with Christmas trees in the trunk. A helicopter has been circling the island and even a police car (there is no police on Hönö only if they get called out from the mainland). Apparently there is a code of honour, after four am Easter eve no one is allowed to steal any trees from each other. In the morning all the kids start bringing trees out from their hideouts and stacking them on the particular bonfire that they “belong” to. There is a lot of fuel, alcohol for the participants and gas canisters and oil for the bonfire. It’s all a recipe for disaster but, touch wood, usually it goes smooth. Oh and not to forget all the fireworks that kids throw on the fire.
I asked my neighbour, who’s 95 years old this summer, about the Easter fires. How long it’s been going on. He said -For ever, at least since from when I was a kid. We used to light one at Långholmen. You had to row your boat out full with xmas trees. One year someone gave us an old rowing boat and barrels of tar from Vadbinderiet(where they tie the fishing nets). That year the fire burned until four o’clock in the morning.
Then finally last night it was time. We made our way up to Kanon berget(Cannon hill), there was a lot of shouting up on the hill and as usual we lost our way going up, they had already lit the “narr-fyren (see https://henisland.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/the-big-hunt-is-on/) so we had to make our way up a steep mountainside. A large collection of trees were stacked and tied with ropes with a plastic ice-cream ad clown as decoration. It was all very civilised, the police showed up for the first time since we started going to that fire. They had made tour around the Islands and apparently confiscated 400litre of oil at one of the other fires. They also told us more about what happened Thursday, a shipping container was transported on the ferry with trees from the mainland( this is news to me I didn’t think there was cheating going on) a rivalry gang showed up and started a big fight and wild chase after the Xmas trees. There were a lot of rumours about injuries but the police had a different story. All in all we had a great night, not counting a sprained ankle, and woke up to summer weather. 20degrees sunshine and BBQ!