It is Easter Sunday and in many Christian countries people go to church and praise how Jesus came back from the dead. But in Sweden every tradition has more than just the Christian; there are always elements from other sources, some very old.
Let’s have a quick overview of a modern-day Swedish Easter:
Skärtorsdag (Maundy Thursday) – Children dress up as påskkärringar, the Easter Witches, and go around knocking on doors and asking for sweets. This concept sounds familiar…
Långfredagen (Good Friday) – Although not the same now, apparently if you go back a couple of generations they would literally have no fun on this day: even the children were not allowed to play because they had to sit and think about Jesus.
Påskafton (Easter Saturday) – This is the day for Easter egg hunting and traditional Easter food, which is often lamb or fish, as well as eggs.
Påsk (Easter Sunday) – The day for church.
Why are there ‘Easter Witches’?
This comes from an older tradition from 1600s and before about the hexor (witches) who would fly to an imaginary place somewhere in Sweden called Blåkulla. They flew on broomsticks and often the devil would take the form of a cat and sit on the back of the broom and go with them. Related to the burning of witches at the stake there are also celebrations with fire across western Sweden, but this is not done in the east.
In a moment you are going to learn the most important thing of all: where the Easter Bunny came from!