Only one in six will attend church during Easter

Around 16 percent of Oslo’s population is likely to attend a church service during Norway’s official Easter holiday period, which starts on Thursday and runs through Monday. Not all churches will be open and offering services either.

Only around 16 percent of Oslo residents intended to go to church during Easter. Here, the historic Lunner Church, about an hour's drive north of Oslo. PHOTO: Views and News

A survey conducted by research firm Respons for newspaper Aften revealed that fully 82 percent of Oslo residents had no plans to go to church during Easter. Only 5 percent said they’d attend various services, from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, while 11 percent said they probably would attend one service.

Even though Easter is the oldest Christian holiday period and arguably its most important, Norway’s state evangelical Lutheran church has a hard time attracting interest from ordinary Norwegians. Only around 4-5 percent attend church on a regular basis.

Easter activities are far more associated with ski trips, visits to mountain cottages called hytter, reading crime novels and eating lamb roasts and sweets than going to church. Even though 16 percent, or roughly 96,000 Oslo residents, indicated they may go to church this year, only 6,216 actually attended services on Easter Sunday last year, according to state church statistics. Gunnar Grøsland of the local church council claimed he was surprised so few go to church on Easter Sunday.

“During services last year, I often thought, “isn’t this the most important day of the year for Christians?'” Grøsland told Aften. “It’s a bit strange, because what happened on the first Easter Sunday laid the foundation for Christianity.” He thinks the poor church attendance in Oslo is a result of many leaving town for the holidays.

Views and News staff