Swedish word of the day: påsk

Swedish word of the day: påsk
It's one of the biggest dates in the Swedish calendar, but where did it get its name? Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Happy påsk!

The Swedish word for Easter, påsk, may well be recognisable to you if you speak another European language. Unlike in English, but like other Swedish words for festivals, months, and weekdays, it isn’t capitalised. 

It’s a relative of French Pâques, Italian Pasqua, Spanish Pascua, Romanian Paşti, Dutch Pasen and Russian Pascha (Paskha/Пасха), to name a few.

These words all date back to the Greek word Πάσχα (Pascha), which is linked to the Hebrew word Pesach meaning ‘to pass over’. The word pascha was adopted by Latin as the name of the Christian holiday, which became páskar in Old Norse.

Although the English name Easter has a different origin (from Ēostre, the name of a goddess linked with springtime), you will still find relatives of påsk in English dialects, including Pace in Scotland and northeastern England, and Pask in Cornish.

So now that you know where the word comes from, how to use it? 

Happy Easter is glad påsk, and you will also find it in lots of festive compound words: påskhelgen (the Easter weekend), påsklov (Easter holiday/break), påskägg (Easter egg), påskgodis (Easter sweets), påskhare (Easter bunny) and påskmust (a fizzy drink in Sweden sold around Easter and spring time).


Firar du påsk?

Do you celebrate Easter?

Påskhåren delar ut paskägg under påsken

The Easter bunny gives out Easter eggs at Easter

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