Easter was always my favorite holiday when I was a kid. Sure, it was great to get presents for Christmas and my birthday, but it was always such a big deal and so many people would come over and it was a bit annoying.
At Easter, I got to dress up like an Easter witch and like every other child in the neighborhood, go out and wish people a Happy Easter. The preparations took about a week. Not only did I need to choose the particular shawl I was going to wear over my head, but I had to make all the Easter cards to hand out to people.
My grandma would sit down with me at our large kitchen table and we would draw roosters and eggs and flying witches on little pieces of paper before folding them up and putting them into a little basket. I knew that when I got home on Easter Eve, all the cards would have been replaced by candy and money. I would make up to $15 from handing out the cards with my friends, money that would then last me for weeks when buying candy every Saturday.
In a way, a Swedish Easter is a little bit like Halloween, although there is nothing scary about it and you don't threaten to egg or toilet paper someone's house if they don't give you anything. You just get mad and walk away, and then you vow not to come back next year.
The reason people dress up as witches (some boys dress up in black like a chimney sweep) is because the superstition goes that on Easter, witches were especially active and their black magic especially powerful. On Maundy Thursday, the witches fly off on brooms to consort with the devil at some place called "blåkulla," returning on Easter Eve.
(The photo above is of my cousin many years ago in my grandmother's kitchen before heading outside for Easter)