- This is an indoor collection of birch branches decorated for easter with coloured feathers.
There are a lot of cool Easter traditions in Sweden. The weirdest one involves a Maundy Thursday neighbourhood romp through the neighbourhoods by kids dressed as witches… they knock on doors, sing a song, and get some candy. It is kind of like Halloween, but everyone is a witch. And they are not really North American style witches, but Baltic crones, with headscarf, broom, apron, and some rouge. After the witches fly to Blåkulla (the blue hill), which can be reached only by broom, ostensibly to wait until next easter. For this reason, witches are also an Easter decoration.
To me this skews a bit misogynist, with a fear of older women and some of the herb-knowledge or other wisdom they have acquired over the years. This seems to be supported by some of the witch-hunting that happened in Sweden in the 1600s, and the Easter-time traditions display at the Nordiskamuset in Stockholm also makes this connection.
Easter trees are a much happier springtime decoration of pagan origin. Bare birch branches are decorated with coloured ribbon and feathers. Every store has one, the shopping streets are lined with them, and most people have one in their house. It is not really clear to anyone I’ve asked where this tradition comes from. However, given that there is little in the way of garden flowers this far north, it seems like a nice way to welcome spring.