Wandering witches welcome Finnish Easter
Finnish Easter traditions mix religious references with customs related to the long-awaited arrival of spring. If you answer the door on the Sunday before Easter, you may be confronted by endearing little witches offering to bless your home in return for treats.
In the most popular family tradition, young children (especially girls) dress up as Easter witches, donning colourful old clothes and painting freckles on their faces. “The little witches then go from door to door, bringing willow twigs decorated with colourful feathers and crepe paper as blessings to drive away evil spirits, in return for treats,” says children’s culture expert Reeli Karimäki of the Pessi Children’s Art Centre in Vantaa, just north of Helsinki.
Like many Finnish householders, Karimäki keeps a basket of small chocolate Easter eggs ready by the door to pay off the marauding witches. Other families reward them with sweets or small change – or keep their front doors resolutely closed.
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