Images and text by Sarita Rajiv
Denmark has a fun, whimsical Easter tradition called the gækkebrev or the secret snowdrop letter. The gækkebrev is a letter that Danes send to their loved ones a few days before Easter. The letters are papers with fine, intricate patterns cut into them and have small poems or riddles written on them. The guessing game comes into play because in place of the sender's name, you're supposed to place dots - one for each letter in the name. The recipient has to guess who the sender is. And if they can't, they owe him or her an Easter Egg and vice versa.
The name gækkebrev also has a connection to the snowdrop flower - called vintergæk in Danish. The snowdrop usually begins to bloom in the thick of winter, ushering in the first signs of spring and teasing the winter with its presence. And so it's traditional to include the snowdrop with the gækkebrev. It's a lighthearted way of teasing the receipient. Isn't it fun? I'm all for this Danish Easter tradition. So this year, I'm making some gaekkebrev for my daughter. They are easy to make, all you need is some paper, scissors and simple cutting skills. You can find some tips to cut your own gækkebrev here. Or check out these 'How to make a gækkebrev' videos here and here.
Here are some of the traditional riddles or poems you can use. Or maybe come up with some fun ones of your own.
Mit navn det står med prikker
pas på det ikke stikker.
Mit navn det må du gætte
og spekulere på.
Jeg prikker blot vil sætte,
så la'r jeg brevet gå.
Nu skriver jeg et lille brev
og du skal gætte hvem der skrev.
I brevet er en vintergæk,
den må du ikke kaste væk,
men jeg skal ha' et påskeæg
hvis ikke du kan gætte
hvem der har skrevet dette
Jeg sender dig en gæk-gæk-gæk,
mit navn er blevet væk-væk-væk
i stedet står der prik-prik-prik
Hvem er jeg? - Prøv og kik-kik-kik
Læg panden dybt i læg-læg-læg
det glæder påskeæg-æg-æg
What do you think of this whimsical Danish tradition? Do you have any special Easter traditions in your country? I'd love to hear them.
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