A new poll from the Finfood Association shows that for 40 percent of Finnish residents, the Easter weekend is no reason to prepare a special meal. Only 59 percent indicated that would enjoy at least one meal that was a cut above the norm over the four-day Easter weekend.
"I think it's a surprisingly big number, those that don't celebrate Easter Sunday with a fancy meal," says the association's communications director Minna Asunmaa.
There are naturally those that make the most of the culinary opportunity, however, as a small proportion responded to the poll by saying they would be treating themselves to special dinners on each day of the extended weekend.
In Finland, the standard Easter dinner is enjoyed on Easter Sunday with one's nuclear family, or alone, according to the poll. Only one in four plan to invite guests.
Asunmaa wishes Finns would arrange to eat together more, especially when there's a holiday that gives them a reason to. Easter is a relatively easy choice, as there are several Finnish food traditions tied to the spring church holiday.
"It doesn't mean you have to buy expensive raw ingredients. Just having a meal together and decorating things a bit is enough. Or just have dessert and a glass of bubbly together. Celebrations can get their start in small ways," she says.
Lamb, mämmi and lots of red wine
The most common traditional Easter meal in Finland contains lamb. Two years ago, Finns ate an average of 700 grams of lamb per person throughout the year. Half of the lamb sold in Finland is domestically produced.
"The absolute must on the Finnish Easter table is mämmi. Pasha is also important," Asunmaa says.
The Finnish population eats close to two million kilos of the black rye dessert each year, most of it during the Easter season.
But if Finland isn't eating anything special over the Easter weekend, it certainly is drinking something out of the ordinary. The Finnish alcohol monopoly Alko reports that Finns drank close to 800,000 litres of red wine last year during the Easter week. This year it expects a 31 percent rise in sales when compared to a regular week. It also notes a spike in the sale of other wines, like Madeira and port wines over Easter.