Monday, March 10, 2008


Christian and I received a *gækkebrev (the orange one above) in the mail last Saturday. It looked like it was made by a child and was sent from Copenhagen City. We didn't know who would send us one. The name had six characters and we really couldn't guess who sent it, so we just put it aside. While eating lunch on Sunday we brought it out again and were trying to figure out who sent it. Then Julian yells, "It was me!". We had such a good laugh at that. We never considered that it could be from Julian. Then I remember one of his teachers saying that they were going to take a walk in the woods to pick snowdrops and press them. His poem says,
My name in suns below
Now it is spring

*gækkebreve  English translation "snowdrop letter"
This is a letter that you send to someone in the springtime before Easter. It can be decorated by cutting paper with scissors or a nail, snowdrops, coloured paper, and poetry as seen above. The poem is normally about springtime and a hint of the name of the sender. If the receiver of the snowdrop letter does not guess who sent it to them by Easter, they have the give the sender an Eater egg containing chocolate. 

This tradition started in the 1600's. H. C. Andersen was famous for his paper cutting, link above. Children began sending these to adults in the 1930's in hopes of getting Easter eggs and chocolate. 

Today, they are mainly sent by children who make them at school. You can also buy readymade snowdrop letters at the postoffice and bookstores. The handmade ones are really the best though. This is a wonderful tradition in Denmark.

I should add that the other gækkebreve images from above were photgraphed from the book Årets Traditioner, Politikens Forlag.

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