4.09.2014

Crafty: Easter Tree


My daughter and I were looking up Easter decorating ideas and stumbled upon the Easter Tree.  The Easter Tree is a Swedish tradition and something I haven't even heard of in passing.  These trees, well really feather decorated sticks/twigs, are so beautiful and colorful and if it isn't already obvious from some of the other crafts my kids work on, we love our feathers.  

Since we were going to construct our own Easter Tree I thought it would be best to do a little research on what this is all about.  From Watching the Swedes:  

"In Sweden, they don't only have Christmas trees, they also have Easter trees. The Easter tree is a handful of twigs and sticks (usually birch)in a vase with coloured feathers attached to the ends. Some people hang eggs. Some people hang chickens. 
The Easter tree, or 'påsk ris', can be seen all over the country this time of year. Outside shop entrances, in peoples' living rooms, outdoors in the neighbours' gardens. 
The Easter tree is an interesting cultural phenomena. In fact, all products of a society are. This is because they originate somewhere and, often, we have forgotten the origin but still maintain the product or behaviour. 
What's the origin and symbolism of the Easter tree then? 
Well, some Swedes say that it symbolises the wiping away the winter. The twigs represent a broom and the feathers get caught in the broom as we sweep. 
Others say that it represents witchcraft. The twigs represent a witch's broomstick and the feathers indicate flight. This could also be why Swedish kids dress up as witches at Easter and do a kind of 'trick or treating' for Easter eggs. 
But, apparently the Easter tree has a completely different origin and symbolism. It comes from the 1600's. Swedish people in the 1600's used to take twigs and sticks and beat each other with them on Good Friday to commemorate the suffering of Jesus. In the 1800's and 1900's, they started to be decorated and became a symbolic decoration for Easter. "


My four year old daughter and I decided to make our tree and we were both pretty excited about this quick and simple craft.  We walked around our yard to look for some medium length sticks but couldn't find any laying on the ground so we snipped a few branches from our plum tree, maybe 6-7 branches.  We snipped off any live ends and my daughter peeled off any leaves and flowers.  With that we began.  Once the branches were cleaned up we used a little dab of hot glue on each branch end we wanted to add a feather to.  Of course I did all the hot gluing and my daughter had a great time picking out all the feathers for me.  With the feathers attached we arranged the branches into the vase until it was just to our liking then I added the eggs.  Luckily I had some plastic easter eggs with little pinholes at the top point so it was pretty easy to thread some thin metallic sewing thread through. We hung the eggs and we were done.  

We placed the Easter tree in the center of our dining table and it looks great!

Supplies:
branches/sticks/twigs at your desired length
hot glue
feathers
plastic eggs
thread (I would recommend a white, or even a silver metallic, something that isn't so visible)
vase (we used an old mason jar)


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