Friday, 15 April 2022

Easter Greetings from the Past


These Easter cards, copied from my great-uncle Gustaf's postcard collection, are all from around 1916-17. In my Greetings from the Past blog you'll find the same cards one by one, together with the messages written on the back (pretty standard "Happy Easter" greetings, most of them). 

Then I started to also play around with them in Picasa3, putting them together two and two in collages - and decided to share those here.

And if anyone is wondering what witches have to do with Easter, here is the background:

In Sweden and Finland, there were old superstitions about witches flying on their brooms to Blockula (Bl√•kulla) on the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday / Sk√§rtorsdagen), to meet with the Devil. When this was no longer taken too seriously, children would dress up as witches or old ladies (or old men) and go door to door distributing Easter greetings, and receiving treats in return - rather similar to British/ American Halloween traditions. There also used to be fires and fireworks on Easter Eve (originally to keep witches or evil spirits away). 

Back in my childhood (not quite 100 years ago - but 60!), visiting my grandmother at Easter, I'd sometimes dress up as a Witch as well. Or at least I did once! 

Photo by my dad or granddad; background drawing by my mum:

(If you think you've seen this before, you're probably right.)

On Easter Eve, after dark, my dad also used to set off a few fireworks in my grandparents' large garden. Traditions change, however, and nowadays, around here, bonfires are more common on Walpurgis night (30th April), and fireworks on New Year's Eve. I also don't usually see children dressed up as Easter witches now - except sometimes when the city has arranged a special Easter parade in the town square in the afternoon of Easter Eve.

I can't remember dressing up for Easter at home in the village where I lived with my parents - but that might be because we usually spent the Easter weekend with my grandparents. I do remember making "Easter drawings" at home though, and dropping those anonymously in the postboxes at friends' houses. (I had some playmates and classmates living along the same street.) I probably also received some. Those Easter drawings were always folded as triangles - no envelopes needed.

15 comments:

  1. What fun, and I learned some new to me, old traditions from you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Barbara. Blogging, and meeting people from other cultures, does sometimes make one re-examine traditions that one otherwise tends to just accept because one grew up with them! :)

      Delete
  2. I HAD been wondering about the witches. I thought you accidentally put a Halloween card in! Thanks for the explanation. Is that you in the last photo? How adorable! That would be my favorite, plus the chick that is hatching being fed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginny, yes, it's me in the last photo - back in 1962.

      Delete
  3. Happy Easter weekend. We are enjoying a very quiet Autumn day here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sunny spring here, Amy - but it's been a chilly spring so far, and still not much greenery to be seen.

      Delete
  4. Happy Easter to you, Monica!
    I think I remember the "witch" photo of you from a past post, and also your explanation about that custom. Here, we didn't dress up as witches, but we used to sort of observe Walpurgisnacht in that young lads would take the garden gates off their gate posts at houses were young ladies lived. I remember how one of our childhood friends - a boy none of us was ever romantically interested in, but we were great friends - just for fun took our garden gate off one Walpurgisnight. My Dad saw him do it but he just laughed and put the gate back on.

    Of the old postcards, I am looking closely at the one with the young lady and the girl in the pink skirt. The young lady is holding her bunch of catkins in an almost threatening manner, while the girl's expression could almost be described as a smirk. I wonder what was really going on there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Easter, Meike! Now that Walpurgis night tradition (removing garden gates) is something I've never heard of here. As for that photo, I think the photographer has probably made them try out various silly poses for so long that by now, the young lady is thinking of hitting him with the twigs, while the girl is tempted to throw eggs at him! (lol)

      Delete
    2. :-D
      I am sure that's the true story behind that picture!!

      Delete
  5. Not crazy about the witches, but that is because they are drawn. the others of the girl/women are just beautiful and I love them all. first i have ever heard of the witches on Easter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra, there is a kind of folklore "reenactment" logic to the tradition, in that the time between Christ's death and resurrection was regarded as a time when evil forces seemed to reign.

      Delete
  6. Happy Easter!
    Interesting photos Monica, and they were all hand coloured.
    Easter just meant Easter eggs to me, as a child. I don't think there were any traditions attached to the event, apart from the religious one of course. Nowadays children have Easter egg hunts, not something I can remember happening in my childhood. Witches were strictly Halloween, though we didn't "celebrate" with trick or treat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CG, back in childhood, Easter eggs filled with sweets were the most important part of the tradition to me!

      Delete
  7. I love your explanation of the girls' looks in your comment to Meike.

    The picture of the girl feeding the chicken in the egg really appeals to my sense of fun or whimsy.

    I recall quite a few of your explanations from past years. I'm reasonably impressed with my memory!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham, you should be! (impressed with your memory) Even if I dare not guess (or check) myself how may times I've been repeating the same stuff through 14 years of blogging... :)

      Delete

Communication is what makes blogging fun :)
... but all spam or suspected spam will be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...