Being in a Norwegian city during Easter is very similar to being in the opening scene of Danny Boyles "28 days later", the place is entirely abandoned. The streets are empty and there is an odd eerie silence. If you search long and hard you will find hungry, confused expat zombies wandering the streets looking for something to eat. Struggling to come to terms with a world in which everything has suddenly changed, where every shop, restaurant and cafe has suddenly closed for 5 days, the stagger bewildered through the town.
This is because Easter is a big holiday, in fact it is the biggest public holiday in Norway, more important and more seriously adhered to than Christmas. The official holiday starts on Thursday but most offices etc only work for half a day on Wednesday; because of that lots of people take off Monday and Tuesday and suddenly you have a 10 day holiday. Since the days are getting longer but there is still snow in the mountains the entire population decamps from the towns to their cabins in the mountains. The town is abandoned and everything is closed because "you couldn't possible expect anyone to work on a holiday".
Roy eloquently compared the atmosphere in his offices in the week leading up Easter to the week before half term in a junior school i.e. no work gets down because all the children are so excited about the impending break.
I used to think that it was a great tradition and a fantastic example of the Norwegian "work-life balance" because Easter is a good time to have a holiday and go to the mountains and actually the World does not stop turning if everyone takes a week off. But then I started thinking about the similarity to 28 days later and the whole zombie deal. Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Isn't somebody who comes back from the dead a zombie? This is ground breaking stuff, was Jesus a Zombie? A quick look on the internet confirmed it was true (see here for example) and also proved that once again a brilliant piece of original thinking by yours truly was not as original as I first thought and someone else had already done it better! They even made a movie about it - here (although its a bit slow).
Meanwhile back in Norway I found a documentary that offers an alternative zombie related reason which may explain why the town is so empty. You can see that here.
God Påske alle samen