Thursday, April 7, 2011

Scandinavian Easter Witches

I just learned about something cool that I had to share with Easter approaching! In Scandinavia, witches are a symbol of Easter. Their cartoon version of witches is a lot cuter than the American version, as you can see in these vintage postcards.

If you search online for "Scandinavian Easter Witches" you will find lots of great vintage illustrations. Easter witches on Scandinavian postcards are sometimes seen flying on brooms and are often accompanied by black cats and teapots.

I love the astronaut dog on this postcard!

Something funny that you'll see in a lot of these images is the witches riding on animals instead of broomsticks. Here we have a man being chased by a parade of witches riding pigs.

In this one we have a ram and a black cat.

In Sweden and parts of Finland, a mini-Halloween takes place on either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter. Little girls dress up wearing shawls and scarves on their heads and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats. This is a lot like our Halloween trick-or-treat day, except the kids have one choice of costume.

The tradition is said to come from the old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the Thursday before Easter to cavort with Satan. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honored today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday.

I would also like to share a YouTube video that was made by a modern Swedish woman. It's a more in depth look at the holiday. If you have subscribed to my blog by email, you might not see this video. For some reason the videos I post in my blog aren't delivered in emails. So email subscribers, you'll have to go to my actual blog to see this!


  1. Neither did I, until a few days ago! It's amazing how holidays are celebrated differently around the world.

  2. So much cooler than our Easter.

  3. Yeah, any holiday that involves dressing up in costume and getting candy is pretty cool! Well, I guess we still have chocolate bunnies, but I do like the style of Scandinavia's Easter. :)