"People believed that witches were especially active and their black magic especially powerful during this week...On Maundy Thursday they were thought to fly off on brooms to consort with the devil at some place called blåkulla, returning the following Saturday. 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."
The kids dress up as påskkäringar (witches) or påsktroll (trolls) and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats. Trick-or-treating in April - awesome! Kinda like a spring scrimmage game before the fall sport takes place.
Here are some other worldly Easter holiday traditions I discovered. Can you believe the entire world doesn't do the exact same thing we do? Shocking, I know.
- Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Great Britain. Get it - hot "cross" buns?
- Wearing new clothes at Easter time supposedly means good luck for the remainder of the year, which is why shopping should always be a priority in my opinion. Back in the day, New Yorkers would parade around in their fancy new duds after church and that's how the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade got its start. It's not a holiday until there's a parade and you know how I love parades.
- Several Latin American countries and some parts of Greece have the "Burning of Judas", which involves stringing up and burning/exploding an effigy representing that dude who sold out Jesus. In recent years, crowds have used the effigies to represent politicians, etc., who have wronged the people. (Insert self-control...must not comment on deserving candidates...)
- In Bermuda they fly kites on Good Friday. Supposedly, way back when, a teacher needed a way to demonstrate the ascension of Christ into heaven so he used a kite decorated with a picture of Jesus to get the point across. Pretty good, huh? Now, everyone flies multicolored kites on Good Friday.
Gotta go - must pack! I wish the Concorde was still running.