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Sweden’s Easter Witches

Witches on Easter? That’s right. In Sweden, the spring holiday season gets a dash of Halloween spirit, beginning on the Thursday before Easter. Young girls dress in raggedy old clothes and go door-to-door with copper kettles, asking for candy and treats.

According to old stories, on the Thursday before Easter, witches boarded their brooms and flew to a towering mountain top somewhere in Germany.

To scare the witches away on their returning flights, Swedish people would build great, roaring fires. We see this tradition carried over to modern times with the bonfires and fireworks that are sure to flicker to life this Easter weekend.

For Swedes, Easter is the first long weekend of the year and it’s a great opportunity to get out and enjoy blooming spring flowers in the countryside. If you were visiting a relative’s summer country house, you might also see vases filled with twigs, with feathers topping the twigs.  This is an old religious tradition of decorating birch twigs during Good Friday, and sometimes the main streets in town celebrate by decorating their trees!