Trick or treat: it’s Easter!

Swedish Easter traditions really are very different to what I’m used to. For one thing, you can expect children dressed up as Easter hags to knock on your door. They hand over a handmade Easter card and you hand over a fistful of sweets to send them on their way…

Thanks to the Swedish Tourist Board for this photo.

Why? Well, before Sweden became Christian, old folklore said that on Maundy Thursday, witches would jump onto their broomsticks and fly away to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain) to cavort with the Devil. The tradition of trick-or-treating while looking like hags or witches neatly connects the ancient folklore with modern times.

This display in a local florist’s just about sums up a Swedish Easter… except for the fact that they have chosen purple as their theme. (Most Swedes go with yellow instead.) You have cheerful witches, chicks and eggs (symbols of fertility and new life) and, of course, birch twigs decorated with brightly-coloured feathers.

These decorated twigs are a throwback from more religious times when young people used to lash each other with birch twigs on Easter Friday as a reminder of Christ’s sufferings. Decorating twigs with feathers dates back to the 19th century and was a way of ushering in the spring. The burst of colour seems to reflect the joy of spring and the relief that winter is (nearly) over.

So, whether you went wild decorating twigs with joyfully-coloured feathers or not, I hope you all had a wonderful time!

51 thoughts on “Trick or treat: it’s Easter!

  1. What a great post, Ladyfi! I really enjoyed it — as I do all of yours! Where are you from originally? I just assumed it was Sweden. It was fun learning about the Easter customs! I love all the differences as much as I do the things we all have in common! Hope your week is off to a great start and that it only gets better!

    Sylvia

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  2. Loved your post- it is always lovely to learn about customs from around the world.

    And the building reflected on the shop window is really pretty too.

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  3. Do like the idea of Easter hags! It’s sort of like Halloween, but nicer. Not very sure about that twig hitting ritual. Speaks too much of nasty religious practices that I have heard about in my Irish Catholic upbringing.

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  4. Beautiful post and description of the tradition.
    It is so interesting to read about the many different Easter customs from all around the world.
    I hope you had a beautiful Easter holiday!

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  5. Interesting….I have never heard about these traditions. I love how different cultures can celebrate the same holidays in completely different ways! Thanks for sharing this….

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  6. These are really very different customs, from what we are used to on Easter. Interesting to read. Never knew this.
    Glad you had a happy Easter!

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  7. Their photo is wonderfully colorful and I love the faces of the children.

    Lashing one another with twig… OUCH! Bet they are glad that tradition went to the wayside for heaven sakes.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  8. Oh my!

    This was all new to me. Glad the hitting each other with sticks isn’t as popular these days.

    The girls do make cute little hags at least.

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  9. Ok I had no clue about this!!! It is so funny that DK and Sweden are so alike in some ways but so unique in their holidays! Thanks for sharing !

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  10. That is fascinating! Do kids get Easter baskets or do egg hunts? You probably already answered these questions, but my brain seems to be full of holes today.

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  11. What an interesting and informative post. I had no clue of this custom. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    God bless and have a terrific Tuesday!!!

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  12. I loved reading that. I had no idea about Swedish Easter traditions. (But I do think I looked like the Easter Hag on Sunday without meaning to.)

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  13. I like that tradition, it’s a bit like Halloween Trick or Treating with spring and Easter thrown in

    the window display and its reflections is beautiful

    thank you for recommending the dancer post to Hilary, that was so kind of you. I’m honored.

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  14. You know they have something similar to this here in Norway at Christmas, kids dress up and knock on doors and sing a song to get candy or a mandarin or something. Considering this is a Scandinavian thing to get free candy and fruit on holidays- I’m thinking they do this because it’s so expensive to live in these countries they can’t afford the good stuff when the holidays come- so they dress up, give you a card or sing you a song in exchange for a goodie ;-)) hahahaha…ok, just kidding, that’s my humble interpretation on the situation and I know I’m way off, but who knows???

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