It’s that time of year again when we stuff our faces with chocolate and chase rabbits down the hole…
I’m currently in Sweden visiting family, and so I get to enjoy the Scandinavian traditions which are actually quite different. No bunnies and none of the traditional British Easter eggs that we all know and love. There are Easter eggs of course, but you wouldn’t be able to go out and buy yourself a Maltesers or Galaxy egg. Rather they just have lots of the tiny ones, in a pick and mix type.
You see a lot more of chickens than bunnies, and because all Scandinavian traditions are mixed with their old ways, there are Easter witches. Because… Well, because when they converted Scandinavia to Christianity they found that it was easier to just let them hold onto their old ways, and just tag the new Christian traditions onto them. So now they are left with a combination of both.
Most of the dates of the heathen holidays pretty much lined up with the Christian ones anyway, so why make a fuss when they could just combine it? You can notice it in a way because up here they tend to celebrate all holidays on the eve rather than the day. Like most of the celebrations take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. I celebrated Easter yesterday (Saturday) rather than today (Sunday).
They also celebrate Midsummer’s Eve (originally summer solstice) every June.
But today we’re talking about Easter.
So, Easter witches.
It all stems from back in the day when people were very superstitious. They believed that the night before Easter, all of the witches would get on their brooms and ride to Blåkulla (Blockula) to meet with the Devil for the witches’ Sabbath. While obviously no one believes in witches anymore, the tradition somehow lives on in the children dressing up as witches for Easter.
See how scary the Easter witches are?
Beyond dressing up as witches, the traditions vary depending on where in the country you live. Some parts have an approach similar to Halloween where the children will walk between houses and ask for candy. The area where my family live, the children will draw something on a piece of paper, fold it into a letter and fill it with candy. They’ll then throw it into their friends’ homes and run off, and the friend is meant to run after them to try to catch them.
I love finding out about local traditions or even traditions that differ between countries. That said, with internet and the amount of information that’s around these days, I do find that the lines blur. People see things on tv/the internet and suddenly things from other countries appear. (Like I actually saw a couple of Easter bunnies in the Easter parade yesterday, something I’ve never seen before in Sweden.)
In any case, I wish you all a Happy Easter – no matter where you are in the world.
Does your country/family/region have any special Easter traditions?