Vrolijk Pasen

Vrolijk Pasen! (Happy Easter!)

In the Netherlands, Easter or Pasen is two days long and consists of Easter Sunday and the following Monday. The second day is to allow people more time to visit with family. For weeks shops have been selling chocolate eggs* and bunnies, pastel party goods (napkins, tablecloths, candles etc), and spring decor. Stores and restaurants display signs stating if they are open one or both days of Easter. Shopping on Easter Monday is pretty popular and many places are open for the occasion.

Food
Easter brunch is also a big deal here. This makes me happy because I love breakfast food. Magazines have recipes and menus that include fancy breads, deviled eggs (gevulde eieren – literally filled eggs), pancakes (which are super thin), tarts, and quiches. Lamb and roasted chicken show up frequently on diner menus.

Paasontbijt - breakfast tart and wentelteefjes (French toast) with banana
Paasontbijt – breakfast tart, wentelteefjes (French toast) with banana, strawberry-orange juice, and coffee

At the market this week, I saw several people buying eggs to dye or paint. For those who are too busy to color eggs, grocery stores sell pre-colored eggs. Colored or chocolate eggs are then hidden for kids to find. One of the cafés in town hid eggs around town and if you find one you get a free drink.

Music and Events
Concerts and music are also part of Dutch Easter celebrations. Bach’s Matthäus Passion plays in churches and concert halls all over the Netherlands during the Easter season. (I only recently discovered this so I probably won’t get to hear it this year.) Paaspop, a pop music festival in Brabant, lasts Easter weekend. Some towns have parades, bonfires, or other special events that vary from town to town. For example, this year Hilversum has a music festival in the city center on Easter Monday.

*I bought an assortment of mini chocolate eggs this year. Many of the eggs available are flavored or filled (ex. mango chili, avocado, praline, and hazelnut to name a few).

Update: Added a photo of this year’s Easter brunch