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Swedens easter witches


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#1 aurora

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:16 AM

Many of the things you don't know about Easter have to do with odd, intensely national Holy Week traditions. So why not start off with the most unexpected one — the Easter Witch. In Sweden and parts of Finland, a mini-Halloween takes place on either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter. Little girls dress up in rags and old clothes, too-big skirts and shawls and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats.

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.

 

Posted from article on Time website: http://content.time....1889927,00.html

Just a little tit bit that maybe of interest or not,cos I don't know what else to talk about.I wonder why the Thursday before and not Tuesday or Wednesday.


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#2 The Exile

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:09 AM

Thanks for finding that information Aurora. I didn't know that one.
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#3 Whiterose

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

Interesting. I didn't know that either. Thanks!
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#4 RavenFlyer

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:09 PM

It's probably because thursday night would be the night before the crucifixion so if the witches were meeting satan it would make sense to meet him the night before a very important Christian day of Good Friday.
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#5 aurora

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:13 PM

How stupid of me, of course. Thanks R/flyer
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#6 Michele

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:51 PM

I do not have the information in front of me, but in the past it has been related to the Witch's Sabbat - where witches would fly through the night to a mountain. I do not remember the name of the mountain or what area the lore is derived from, although I believe it may be European in origin and tied into the Shamanic origins of some forms of European craft. Shamanic in the witch leaving her body and flying off to a mountain to fight a battle for the benefit of the people. Can't remember the whole story, sorry, lol.

M

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#7 seacow

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:22 PM

Actually it's common everywhere over here too! Bonfires, kids dressed up as witches and all else. I remember doing it as a kid, and loving it. A few days before we would go gather pussy willow (I can't believe that's the name :biggrin:) and dress the branches up with ribbons and such. Then we would go from house to house, and when someome opens the door we wave one of the branches around and say a spell/blessing for good health and good luck for the coming year. Then, in exchange for the branch and the blessing the children are presented with sweets. It is considered ill luck not to accept the blessing from the little witches.

And then there's something that happens on sacred saturday but I can't for the life of me remember what it is and I'm waaaay too tired to google it :biggrin:

Edited by seacow, 02 April 2013 - 06:23 PM.

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#8 Aurelian

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:56 AM

I think the mountain must be the Brocken, if it's the same mountain that is said to be used on Walpurgisnacht. How interesting, I didn't know of this tradition Aurora, thanks for sharing :)
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#9 seacow

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:53 PM

http://en.wikipedia....i/Kyöpelinvuori thats the place where the wicthes from here go to
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#10 aurora

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:53 PM

Thank you S, for the link.very interesting
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#11 Athena

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:13 PM

That's really interesting I had never heard of it lthough I know very little about scandanavian witchcraft lore. I mostly know about trolls lol my grandmother used to tell us fairy tales about them.
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#12 aurora

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 12:32 AM

As i tell my grandchildren ,heehee. We go to the denhole and leave Honey and drawings and gifts so that they wont be snatched from their beds. Lol.I do enjoying scaring them.
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#13 Raineylane

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:19 AM

What a wonderful tradition.  I love learning things like this.  Thanks for posting it.


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#14 odahviing

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:51 PM

Just have to say I live in one of the two (or is it three?) communes in Sweden that still practise the bonfire thing large-scale. My local bonfire had roughly a thousand christmas trees in it this year (the one lit for/by my "area" of the island). It was the biggest of all the bonfires on our ten islands and so we won... The whole process goes on from christmas to easter. People throw their old christmas trees in the street and others come collect them, hide them, somtimes even fight over them. We call it the tree-wars. It's huge and the tradition is well enough rooted that our politicians, the police and the fire departments have not yet managed to shut it all down despite yeeears of trying. (admittedly, there are some safety issues...)

The whole place is awash with hedonistic energy around easter, culminating on easter eve in drunkeness up on a mountain with everyone you know watching and cheering your huge bonfire. I love it.

 

The whole celebration starts on thursday (which is actually a holiday here) because, according to the roman catholics, this was the day Christ started the whole communion idea when he celebrated the last supper with his disciples. But outside of the church traditions Thursday was cause for caution because that was the day all the witches left for Blåkulla to celebrate the sabbath, so superstition would have you take a bunch of protective measures so as to ward them off your home while they were traveling past you.

 

I think there is also a connection to modern asatro as well but I'm not so clear on that so I won't misinform.

 

(Also, I've decided to consider the fires more of a homing beacon to show the witches the way home as opposed to scaring them off. It's worked so far...  :vhappywitch: )


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Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!


#15 Christine

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 07:09 AM

Scandinavian Easter wins. It sounds wonderful.


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#16 SachaX

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 12:06 AM

Don't you just love the holidays around the world that may not have ever been a holiday had it not been for those scared christians?


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#17 Akashiel

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

Actually it's common everywhere over here too! Bonfires, kids dressed up as witches and all else. I remember doing it as a kid, and loving it. A few days before we would go gather pussy willow (I can't believe that's the name :biggrin:) and dress the branches up with ribbons and such. Then we would go from house to house, and when someome opens the door we wave one of the branches around and say a spell/blessing for good health and good luck for the coming year. Then, in exchange for the branch and the blessing the children are presented with sweets. It is considered ill luck not to accept the blessing from the little witches.

And then there's something that happens on sacred saturday but I can't for the life of me remember what it is and I'm waaaay too tired to google it :biggrin:

Yeah I did this too when I was a kid. Not just for girls and if I remember right the costumes were pretty much identical for both genders, at least in my town. That might be reason that there were a lot more girls doing it....


Edited by Akashiel, 25 August 2014 - 02:12 PM.

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#18 Ogga

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 07:06 AM

The tradition with firecrackers around easter (witch has diminished since I was
a kid thanks to the EU pyro directive in 2002) has its origin in the warding of
witches. Before they started to use firecrackers (in the 19th century I guess)
they used to shoot in the air with rifles to scare the witches of. Many fired
blanks, scared of hitting and angering the witches.

The place that the witches fly to on their broomsticks is traditionally called
Blåkulla (å = the ou sound in thought) as mentioned before. Where Blåkulla
was are often very sketchy, but in my region of Sweden there is an (island
at the coast outside Kalmar) that is named Blå Jungfrun (The Blue Virgin) that
according to folklore here should be Blåkulla. The island has i rather unique
type of stones on its beaches, that is said to have magical abilities, but to
take one with you from the island hexes you and gives you bad luck until
you return it (however...as a practitioner of the craft i think its possible to
avoid the bad luck...but I m not sure if its legal). Today Blåjungfrun is an
national park.

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