And then we have our holidays…like over Easter for instance, obviously not being a Christian nation to begin with, now Easter celebration is very much a Christian celebration because once we got Christianized in….15…35? Maybe? We obviously started celebrating Easter for the death of Christ and all that.
So for us it’s basically the night…(and this still goes on today)…it’s the night where all the witches go to their um, Blåkulla, which is called in Swedish, like the Blue Hills, would be the translation. Where they dance around the fire with Satan. Every year. They would get on their broomsticks and fly there. And do that.
Is that an actual geographical place?
It’s not an actual place, but it’s…like they all go there, to do this. So around Easter, much like trick-or-treaters here, during Halloween, kids will dress up as these witches, which is basically old ladies, with a shawl around their head, all that stuff, a broomstick, and a little basket. With Happy Easter cards in it. And they get candy. It’s very much like trick-or-treating. So they say Happy Easter and you give them candy. And if you’re a guy you can go as a…as it’s called…..the actual translation I guess is…Easter Old Lady or Easter Bitch. It’s kind of a combination of the two. Or you can go as a man, as well. Like an Easter Old Man. It’s very rare, but like if you refuse to get in drag as a kid, as a boy, you would go as a Man. Like with a plum hat? Is that what it’s called? And a coat. But a lot of kids go as witches.
Do all the kids do it?
Pretty much everyone does it. It’s getting less and less, like in the big cities now. In smaller groups, like in the villages, it still goes on. Like I did it growing up. So it’s not a Tradition that’s dying off. So we do that at Easter.
So Sunday night?
No no no, this is usually on the Thursday. Before Easter. During the afternoon. Before Easter, for all the kids in school, the Thursday’s only a half day, ever. Because Good Friday is off.
And then what happens on Easter Sunday?
Easter Sunday, then we’re Christians again.
Do you know why this happens on Thursday? Is there something significant about having it three days before Easter?
Well it’s…the Thursday’s obviously the night before Jesus was killed, right? So it’s the night of when he got betrayed, and I don’t know if it’s just happen to coincide? Or if they’re like, oh this is perfect, we’re just gonna put it right there cause it makes sense.
Do you know what the symbolism is of having the kids go around dressed up as witches?
If I’m not mistaken, I think it is to sort of, scare off the other witches to come there. So they dress up as witches so the real witches will stay away.
This is a prime example of a pagan holiday / festival that has taken on a Christian holiday on top of it – it is clear that Easter in Sweden is now an amalgamation of pagan and Christian celebrations. The children are in a sense reenacting the folk belief, and perhaps they are the ones who believe most firmly in the witches. If the witches are dancing with Satan, and the children dress up to keep the real witches away, this seems like a superstition and ritual to keep bad luck away from the household and harvest. According to published authorship, this festival or custom also involves people building their own fires and throwing old wood into it, for example old wooden furniture, or anything old from the past year. This is sort of like a spring cleaning, or burning and cleansing the household of the old year and making way for the new season.