Wednesday 8 April 2009

Easter Wednesday in Sweden

The week of Easter is called 'Stilla veckan' or 'the Quiet Week' in Sweden. The Wednesday before Easter is called Dymmelonsdag, dymmel being the wooden clapper you but in the bell in exchange for the metal one, to get the duller, more mournful, tone.

A common practice associated with this day is to fasten something on the back of some poor unsuspecting victim, often a silly note. This may be a continuation of the idea of betrayal that is found in calling the day 'Spy Wednesday' in other Countries. The notes are called dymmelonsdagspass - Spy Wednesday passports - and are thought to have originally been passports that the witches, who in Sweden were thought to have been particularly active at Easter, needed to get into Blåkulla. There they would feast with the devil and his kind. It can only be reached by air, so leaving brooms or agricultural tools out might mean loosing them to a passing whitch, who thought them suitable for flying.

One of the great traditions of Easter - and not just in Sweden - and in Sweden not just at Easter - is the performance of Bach, particularly his Passion Oratorios.

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