A small group of witches pounding on your door? A gaggle of hags making their way up your garden path? It must be Maundy Thursday in Stockholm! Clueless but have kids that want to join in the fun? Check out the YLC guide to easy-peasy Easter Hagging!
Ok, so we’ve all seen them – the little girls and boys dressed up as Easter hags on Maundy Thursday, going door to door offering home-made Easter cards and getting sweets, fruit, or a coin as a reward. This, the closest Sweden ever traditionally got to trick-or-treating, is a tradition which dates back to at least the 19th century
The tradition to go Easter-hagging (the Swedish verb is ‘gå påskkärring’) varies a little depending on where you are in Sweden. In western Sweden the little hags are seen on Holy Saturday (Easter Eve) but in most of the country – and most specifically in Stockholm – it will happen on Maundy Thursday.
It could be worth while stocking up on some treats yourself – just in case you get a visit from a hag or two. And no, before you grumble about the sweet-toothed Swedes – it doesn’t have to be candy. Most hags will be happy with a packet of raisins or a clementine as well. And if they’re not – then what of it? Remember – Easter hagging doesn’t include the trick threat of Halloween!
Now, you may not think it is necessary to take part in all Swedish traditions (in fact many Swedes don’t take part in any of them) but if you are going to pick and choose – this one is quite nice. Also – your kids friends will be doing it.
OK, so you’ve decided to have a crack at this? But how to go about it?
Well, the nice thing about this tradition is that you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on fancy dress. Neither do you need to sit up late agonizing over a costume that needs stitching. In fact – all you really need to make your offspring fit right into the hordes of little Easter hags milling about on the day – can be found in your make-up bag and hall closet. That is, unless you want to spend a fortune or create elaborate costumes – then that’s OK too. I just know I’m not gonna. And neither will Anna, Eva and Ingrid down the street. Just sayin’.
Anyway – so here’s what you do. You’ll need:
1 child, preferably up for dressing up like an Easter hag
That’s it. Optional extras include a pinafore, some sort of brass pot (very popular) and a little wicker basket in which to carry the home-made cards. Note though that as few parents nowadays would let their kids go Easter-hagging on their own – you’d most likely be walking down the street carrying a largish brass pot and a small wicker basket.
1. Start with ensuring that the child wants to dress up like an Easter hag (I know from experience that this is essential. Otherwise you might as well give up. Really, do.)
2. Second, using your blusher, paint two large red circles on the apples of said child’s cheeks. (Mine wanted a little on its nose too. ‘Like Rudolph’, apparently. I think she may have misunderstood the exercise a little.
3. Follow on with freckles. Easter hags are mad on freckles – can’t get enough of them! This, incidentally, was the child’s fave part. ‘It felt funny’, you see.
5. Add scarf to head. Tie a knot under chin. (Attempt to ignore that child has already wiped a lot of the make up off on your white sofa.) Inquire from child if it requires the optional extras. In my case no. (Phew – would have had locate mentioned brass pot from somewhere under the snow in the garden.)
5. Keep your fingers crossed that the child isn’t already fed up, now refusing to leave the house and pulling faces like this.
And that’s it. Common sense, really. Said child is ready to go out, ring doorbells, give out Easter cards and raking in the rewards.
Now do make sure your kid has made more of an effort with the Easter cards than you did with the outfit – it’s serious business, Easter hagging! 🙂
Photo: Lena Granefelt/imagebank sweden; private