In the United States, Easter is all about baskets brimming with candy and, from a religious standpoint, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, while Christians in the States are out hunting for pastel-dyed eggs, Norwegians are cozied up reading riveting tales of deceit and murder. For over 90 years, citizens of the Scandinavian nation have celebrated the holiday by reading and watching works in the tantalizing genre of true crime.
According to British weekly magazine The Spectator, this tradition started in 1932, when authors Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie engaged in their own unique brand of guerilla marketing for their book about a train robbery that took place on Easter. Instead of posting a conventional ad in the newspaper, they published an excerpt from the book on the front page. For whatever reason, this work of pure fiction ended up looking like actual news (maybe it was because the book's title, translated from the original Norwegian, was The Bergen train was robbed in the night).
Once that confusion was cleared up, people bought the book in droves. What was already a popular genre became inextricably linked to the Easter season in the public imagination. And so, the tradition of påskekrim was born.
Since then, the custom has expanded beyond mere books, and for good reason: The week leading up to Easter, known as Holy Week, is a public holiday in Norway, so nearly everyone has off from work and school. It's not uncommon for people spend their break in vacation cabins in the mountains. Cooped and surrounded by snow for at least a week, it's fair to say that the people of Norway have a lot of free time on their hands this time of year.
So, not only do special TV series air in the name of påskekrim, but milk cartons with comics posted on their sides invite people to participate in real time and solve the mystery that unfolds in comic's panels. Norwegian teen Margit Brooks tells Refinery29 that the lucky sleuths who figure out whodunit win a prize. That alone would keep us busy for a week.