Why Norwegians Love to Read Crime Novels Called 'Påskekrims' During Easter

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We listen to holiday music around Christmas and watch scary movies before Halloween, but there isn't much Easter-themed media to consume in the U.S. Head to Norway this time of year and you'll encounter an Easter tradition centered around books—but instead of cheery tales of flowers and bunnies, they prefer bloody murder mysteries.

According to Visit Norway, the custom of binge-reading Påskekrims (or "Easter crimes") during the Easter season dates back a century. On the Sunday before Easter in 1923, the front page of the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten announced a train robbery on the country's Bergen line. The sensational headline was actually an advertisement for a new crime novel with that premise, but many readers took the fictional statement as fact. The book sparked enough attention to become a best-seller, and today it's consider the first Easter crime story in a long Norwegian tradition.

Norway is famous for its crime fiction. The country's long, dark winters make the perfect setting for unsettling stories, and there's no shortage of Nordic Noir for readers to choose from come Easter time.

Though Easter is associated with mild weather in the United States, Norway is stuck in the tail-end of winter during March and April. It's common for families to head to a cabin (or hytte) for a ski vacation this time of year. Workers also get more time off for Easter in Norway than they do in the States, and all that free time spent in a cozy cabin environment puts Norwegians in the mood to read a good mystery.

If you're looking to spice up Easter this year, consider bringing your favorite crime novel to your family gathering. Reading on a holiday isn't that unusual of a tradition; on Christmas, Iceland celebrates Jólabókaflóðið, or the annual Yule book flood.

[h/t Visit Norway]