Archive for the Easter Witches Category

Celebrate Easter with a Man on a String!

Posted in 00s, Easter Witches, Lithograph, Postcard, SFW on 3 April 2010 by redwitch1

Nothing else says Easter quite like a man-manakin in a top hat and tails. Which is why every self-respecting witch has one. How else would you celebrate Easter—if you are a Swedish Easter Witch—than by dragging your dapper little man along to the sabbat on a string?

Isn’t he adorable? And when you need your mustachioed man to do something useful just ‘zap’ the little fella and he is back to full size, ready to dance, bow, pass food, offer a ready compliment and scratch you in those places you just can’t reach. (Not in a corset anyway.)

So, if you haven’t got a man-manakin already, get one now! But remember, one is enough. More than that and the next thing you know the little ones will be arguing over who gets to carry your ostridge-feather hat or your drinking-horn, they’ll be puffing out their wee little chests, knocking off each others top-hats and challenging each other to a duel. Which is all terribly tedious.

Easter Witches Return, 1960s

Posted in 60s, Easter Witches, Postcard, SFW on 18 April 2009 by redwitch1

This cold-proof bikini-clad witch is heading to Blåkulla aka Blå Jungfrun aka Blue Virgin, the Swedish island in the Baltic Sea that I mentioned last week (here) where witches meet each Maundy Thursday (9 April in 2009). It seems our rosy-cheeked beauty has already visited a crossroad, put a scarf over her head, and then danced round, and “called the Devil thrice, first with a still Voice, the second time somewhat louder, and the third time very loud, with these words, Antecessour, come and carry me to Blockula.”

In 1682 Blockula/Blåkulla was described Joseph Glanvill as “a delicate large Meadow whereof you can see no end. The place or house they [the witches] met at, had before it a Gate painted with divers colours; through this Gate they went into a little Meadow distinct from the other, where the Beasts went that they used to ride on … in a huge large Room of this House … there stood a very long Table, at which the Witches did sit down: And that hard by this Room was another Chamber where there were very lovely and delicate Beds.”

The Devil “would go with them that he liked best, into a Chamber, where he committed venerous Acts with them: and this indeed all confessed, That he had carnal knowledge of them, and that the Devil had Sons and Daughters by them, which he did Marry together, and they did couple, and brought forth Toads and Serpents.” I think it is safe to assume that witch depicted on this particular Easter postcard would be among the ones that the devil “liked best.” (You will find these, and other scary quotes, in Joseph Glanvill’s Sadducismus Triumphatus (1682) and in various places online).

The artwork on the three postcards below is by “Lasse,” who, according to my notes, is Lars Carlsson. They were published by Alex Eliassons Konstförlag A. B., Stockholm, in 1964. The artwork is pretty whacky: note that in the first card the dog has a great Jetson’s-style astro-dog air tank and head bubble, but the cat doesn’t. Obviously the cat is as powerful as our witch, who can survive in space without an oxygen supply. Note also the rather suggestive shape of Mr Moon!

[Bävande, svävande jag arma kjkjoltkg / högt upp i rymden med detta otyg …]

In the next card Mr Moon has finally got his hands on one of our witches, and he isn’t letting go! Where exactly do you think his right hand is? And why do you think our bespectacled witch is looking so flushed? Note also the flowering broom. Nice touch.

[Parkerad pa mangubbens skära / jag tänker sa smatt pa dej …]

In this third effort by “Lasse” we have six elderly astronomers eagerly inspecting the heavens while a blonde witch circles overhead. No cats this time, no Mr. Moon, but check out those bloomers!

[Rymdens plaeter och stjärnmyriander / fängstar en vetenskapsman …]

Easter Witches Return, 1939–45

Posted in 30s, 40s, Easter Witches, SFW on 10 April 2009 by redwitch1

The above card by Maja Synnergren, posted in Stockholm on 10 April 1939, is not of a sexy witch, in fact she is not a witch of any description—although she is at least an example of the very rare not-child and not-hag that I mentioned in my last post. She is here because of what she is doing: she is selling Easter eggs, balloons and Easter witches to a couple of very cute children.

I wish I could say that I had seen a sexy Easter witch doll, but I haven’t. So the chances are that this very pretty street vendor is not even selling sexy witches, she is probably selling hag-witches. Oh well. I have included her here, though, to get you in mood for the cards below and to give you a bit of social context.

And, on this front, I should also note that all of these Easter Witch postcards date from the late 30s and early 40s: that is during the lead-up to WW2, the war itself, and the immediate post-war period. Considering what was going on in Europe, they are surprisingly bright and cheery cards.

Remember, though, Sweden remained neutral during WW2: it did not participate in the war against Germany and was not attacked (though, early part of the war, Sweden and Britain supported Finland against the Soviets; the Fins turned to Germany for help when British support waned. When Finnish/Nazi success enabled them to occupy Soviet territory, Britain declared war against Finland). Norway, however, was occupied by the Germans for most of the war. (For more on this see the Wikipedia entries on Sweden, Finland and Norway during WW2).

And so, now it is time for some real pretty-witches! The first three below I have posted before, but I have two copies of the first card now, one of which has a six-line poem on the verso.

[1943, Glad Påsk]
[1943, Glad Påsk, verso poem]

[1944, Glad Påsk, artwork by "Ain A" or "Ain R"]

[1945, Glad Påsk, artwork by "M.I." or "M.J."]

[1945, Hauskaa Pääsiäistä]

[1947, Glad Påsk, artwork by "Kristina"]
[1947, Glad Påsk, witches always have the best cats!]

Jason, over at The Wild Hunt, has just done a brief post on Easter Witches (here), which mentions my previous post on the subject (thanks Jason). He quotes a paragraph from Time Magazine about “odd, intensely national” Easter traditions, and he links to a charming post by Ladyfi on the subject (see here).

It is the feedback to Jason’s post, however, will probably interested you most. Cipolla mentions Sweden’s “witches’ mountain” (Blåkulla)—their answer to Germany’s Brocken Mountain—as the destination for Swedish witches. This mountain is an island off the coast in southern Sweden: its official name is “Blå jungfrun” (blue maiden). Other feedback on Jason’s post, by Elysia, provides a link to a recent article by Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius, Easter—when Sweden’s witches come out to play, in the English-language Swedish online news service, The Local. Definitely worth a read.

Easter Witches Return, 1906–12

Posted in 00s, 10s, Easter Witches, Lithograph, Postcard on 4 April 2009 by redwitch1
[1912, keeping an eye on the witches]

It has been more than two years since my last post on Swedish Easter Witches and since then I have bought a lot of Swedish Easter Witch postcards: scores of them in fact. So it is time to revisit the subject and share some of my finds, which I will have to space out over at least three posts. This first post is of cards from before 1914 (i.e., pre-WW1).

As some of you will remember from my earlier post, in Sweden, Easter week (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday: 5 April to 12 April in 2009) is the time of year associated with witches. For two centuries Swedish youths have dressed themselves as “påskkäringar” (Easter witches). Previously this was for mumming: groups of Swedish trick-or-treaters would visit neighbours, leaving a small decorated card, with a verse inviting the recipient to participate in the “witches’ Sabbat.” These days children and teenagers are more likely to dress as påskkäringar for a costume, or even a beauty contest.

Having looked at hundreds of cards, thousands in fact, I can state with certainty, only a tiny, tiny percentage of the cards depict genuinely sexy witches. Quite a few show little girls dress as witches, but almost all the rest are of very old women. As a result, a “sexy witch” in this case is everyone else!—the not-girls and not-hags. Okay? (And I have to add, it somehow strikes me as perverse that a region that has been singularly blessed with beauty—the beauty of Swedish women in particular is proverbial—is so miserly in the representation of young women as witches. A pox on their many unimaginative artists!)

Two of the cards below were in my previous post, but only in small images: now you get small and linked larger files, and detailed images from each. I have also re-scanned them. They are in chronological order, with comments below each, which is how I will do the others too.

[1902, En Rolig Påsk]
[1902, En Rolig Påsk, the masked witch]

[1906, Lycklig resa och en glad påsk!]
[1906, Lycklig resa och en glad påsk!, vain witch]

[1906, Glad Påsk]
[1906, Glad Påsk, Mary Poppins-style witch!]

[1912, En Glad Påsk]
[1912, En Glad Påsk, equestrian witch!]

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