You probably wonder have I totally lost it as this post has very little (if nothing) to do with writing and books BUT try to bear with me…I was supposed to write only one post about witches and books with witches. Guess what happened? Yeah, I got all lost in this post as I, too, have been one of those little witches. So, please, take this sort of as an introduction to the next post… Hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did whilst writing it!
It all starts in Palm Sunday, followed by weird traditions that lasts more than a week. On Palm Sunday the kids dress up as witches (though I’ve seen some Easter bunnies, black cats and baby chickens too!), gather their baskets, coffeepots and brooms and the colorful willow twigs, which they have been decorated for days, and heads to the doors of a unsuspecting neighbors. Seriously, it’s like a mini-Halloween! And it’s not just the little girls dressing up in rags, too big-skirts, shawls and aprons anymore, the boys does that too (I think they figured they could be those cats, boy-witches and other Easter creatures I’m sure I’ve never heard of and get their share from the delicious treasures, and why wouldn’t they? It’s super-fun!).
Then these little creatures ring the bell and hope that someone will open the door (I’ve heard stories of frightened adults who forgot to buy candies and other treats and decided to rather hide than face the kids…yeah, I know…how scary they can be?). When the door opens they say this special Easter poem:
A rough translation would be something like:
Whips, whaps (indicating the sound and the movement when the witch is waving her twig)
For the fresh and healthy
Twig for you,
Reward for me.
And while they are whisking their willow twigs they are offered chocolate eggs and sweets.
In the old days children used to dress up on Holy Saturday, when evil spirits and witches were lurking around doing nasty things to people. It was also believed that the witches were old, evil women who were flying around on brooms, whilst hurting cattle and casting bad-luck spells on people. Now? Well, witches are mostly represented as scarf-clad women who has a black cat and a copper coffeepot hanging on their broom. So what does all this have to do with whisking a twist? Well, I guess someone replaced the bonfires that used to dispel evil spirits to the blessed twigs or they just forgot the bonfire part and truth to be told those little witches roaming around on Palm Sunday aren’t that scary either. So even if Easter witch is a quite popular character in Finland, I guess it’s a good thing they’re a bit nicer in these days…
Stay tuned! I’ll be posting about two FREE witchy books on Tuesday!