When you think about Easter, you immediately think “witch.”
Probably the funniest Scandinavian tradition is the Easter witch. In Sweden and Finland—young children hit the streets the Thursday before Easter dressed as peasants (or in their finest witchy costumes) that their parents bought during the post-Halloween sales the year before.
Is this like Halloween in the spring?
Kids make handmade Glad Påsk cards (Happy Easter) and hand them out door to door in exchange for candy.
This trick-or-treating type activity was new to me and caught me off guard when we first moved to Sweden. I heard tiny, gentle knocks on my door and not surprisingly, didn’t happen to have any loose candy in the house to hand out. Having to improvise, I gave a few kronor as payment to each disappointed child.
Don’t be like Lisa. Be prepared and always have loose candy around your house at all times.
Last year, I swore I was going to get it right. After years of forgetting about the details and precise timing of this neighborhood tradition, I headed to the store and bought my kids little peasant costumes. I had the costumes, I had the candy, but my daughter refused to dress up. She didn’t want to be a peasant.
The handkerchief kept slipping down her head and it was tied uncomfortably under her neck.
Hey, I never said peasant life was glamorous, help me out here, kiddo.
Despite my best efforts to integrate my kids into local Swedish society by observing the local traditions, it doesn’t work if they are unwilling to participate.
This year, I am determined, yet again, to send my kids out as little street urchins with their handmade cards.
I’m hoping that they are at the right age to understand that a few minutes of putting stickers on colored paper will earn them candy. Fingers crossed that we will have a more successful Easter promenade than in previous years.
Why witches the Thursday before Easter, you may ask. It is said that the witches fly to a mountain in Germany to cavort with the devil. Kind of like an evil reunion with before the coming of spring.
I don’t know. Swedes were probably depressed about their spring weather switching between sunny days and windy rainstorms every 20 minutes and they had to blame the crazy weather patterns on someone. Witches it is!
So, if you live in Sweden, Finland, or Germany and are unsure when the witches make their rounds, ask a neighbor or always have a stash of loose candy or change handy so your house doesn’t get egged.