There is an uninhabited wild island named Blå Jungfrun (Blue Virgin) at Swedens east coast which is believed to be the island where the Swedish Easter witches is partying with the devil. Yes, Sweden got Easter witches, not Easter bunnies!

Swedish Easter Witches Vintage Card
Photo by riptheskull

It’s believed that the Swedish Easter witches flew off on broomsticks like in the vintage card above, but the cat used to be a black cat symbolizing the devil. I think this witch look rather kind and not so wild as the others I’ve seen.

No one know exactly when it all began, at least in the beginning of 1800, but probably even long before that. Like all traditions, it has changed quite a bit during the years.

To travel to the Swedish Easter Witches Island, they used anything, not only brooms but even with all kind of things or animals.

They were taken the way through the chimneys with the words:

- Up and down and all the way to hell!

…or if they said it wrong:

- Upside down all the way to hell!

They still managed to get there, flying upside down were no big deal for them…. *giggles*

So at Maundy Thursday the Swedish people made sure to shut their chimney dampers so no witches could get in and locking in all things or animals that could be used to fly on.

They even had bonfires or were shooting with guns to scare away witches and from this the Swedish traditions of crackers at Easter were born.

At the island the witches were partying, dancing and having all kind of wild orgies (!) with the devil - served a lot of delicious things they thought, but it was frogs, toads and snakes. They didn’t return home until it was Easter Sunday.

From this old beliefs, the tradition of going around knocking door dressed up as Easter witches (in Swedish: Påskkärringar), were spreading all around Sweden.

Swedish Easter Witches Vintage Photo
Photo by jooleeah_stahkey

Strangely enough, both boys and girls dress up with a scarf on their head. an apron and red painted cheeks, often carrying a coffeepot, giving away Happy Easter drawings in exchange for some candy.

Most parts of the country is doing it on Maundy Thursday, some west parts of Sweden at Easter Saturday, even though it has been decreasing - as all traditions tend to do nowadays.

The famous Swedish scientist Carl Linneaus who visited the island in 1741 wrote:

… women and fairy-tales … generally say that all witches will go here (truly a rather difficult journey) each Maundy Thursday; but those who have visited the place once are not likely to return, and should find out the reason for the fable: If any place in the world looks hideous, this is surely one of the most cruel…

It’s not a surprise he called it hideous, it’s really not a pretty sight. Neither beaches nor dunes exist on this wild island, which consists of 1.4 million years old granite. Glaciers have grounded it down to a very smooth and even area.

Passing sailors were said to be struck with bad luck and bad weather. They say that the sailors have been doing heave-offerings on the island too. I guess that was to please the evil powers there…

The island is called Blåkulla by people, which means “blue hill” because that’s what the island looks like. The red granite rocks are covered with dark lichens, making it at least kinda blueish.

Swedish Easter Witches  Blue Virgin Island
Photo from Wikipedia

The island became a national park in 1926 and has national park rangers that guards the area and also guides visitors.

There is also some caves and a very interesting labyrinth, an ancient monument with an intricate maze of paths made of smaller stones that is placed directly on the rock in a southern part of the island.

Linnaeus described it in his travel report from 1741, calling it Trojeborg, so it obviously existed already back then, but age and function still are unknown.

Swedish Easter Island Blue Virgin Labyrinth
Photo from Wikipedia

If you plan to visit, you have to walk the labyrinth, but be sure to do it in a certain right direction and you’ll appease the magic and get a successful life. It take about 10 minutes to go through it.

One theory is that the labyrinth was built by a stranded sailor that succeeded to get to the island instead of drowning. It’s also said to be Northern Europe’s biggest stone labyrinth.

There is a marked trail on the island leading up to the top, but that is about it, except for some bird life. The most seen bird is the black guillemot. The whole island is about a kilometer with lots of variation in the nature.

Our suggestion is to bring your own picnic food, something to drink, warm clothes and proper walking shoes if you’re going there.

If you’re not a nature-lover, there is really not much to see on this island - if you not want to feel the magic or believe in witches and hope to meet them and the devil…

Sorry, you’re not allowed to stay over night, so no night party with the devil! *giggles*

Just a friendly warning though: Do not take any stone from the island or you’ll be haunted by bad luck until you return it!

It truly is a mystical island even without the witches and others have asked the interesting questions: How come the granite on the island? How come it has that lichen that grows no where else at the east coast of Sweden?

To go there take the train to Kalmar, then the bus to Byxelkrok, or the train to Oskarshamn. Boats departure to the island Blå Jungfrun daily from Oskarshamn or Byxelkrok harbour in the summer.

The rest of the year? Take the broom!

If we’ve been there during the Easter? Schhh… Witches don’t tell…!!!

Nearest Info: Oskarshamns Tourist Office.

LifecruiserWild Islands

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9 Comments on “Fly to party with the devil - Swedish Easter Island”


    This post were made as a suggestion in a conversation I had with Gattina, she got interested when I mentioned we had witches and not Easter bunnies :-)

    Maribeth UNITED STATES said:

    Happy Easter to you, dear Friend!


    Have hear of and we have witches (okay, kjerringer then!) in Norway - and I relate them to Bloksberg (Germany), but I never relate them with Easter!

    This was certainly an interesting read and show the variety of traditions and folklore of the time nowadays, but originally just is about spring, the nature out of hibernation and such.

    Hope you had a great Easter brake!


    What a fascinating story, Mrs L.C. I would love to visit that island and go through the stone labyrinth. Just the stuff for a wonderful mystery story…witches, magic and castaway sailors…


    God påske!!

    I didn’t know about that. It’s really nice to know something. Hehehe Easter witches…

    claudie FRANCE said:

    :smile: That’s right we posted a mystic report in the same time!!!
    It’s the first time I hear about Easter witches!!! It’s very curious and original! the stones’ labyrinth is very curious too! :shock:
    A good place to start writing a thriller in the “Da vinci code” way!!! :grin:

    Gattina BELGIUM said:

    That’s really interesting ! I had started to read this when you published the post but then I was interrupted and now I could read it til the end finally. There are some uses with the witch which the Italian use for “Befana” that’s on January 6th when the Befana (witch) brings sweets to children. The island seems to be quiet rough. I think it’s very interesting to know that not all countries use Easter bunnies. In France, Italy and Belgium (I think all countries with roman influence) the bells of Rome bring the Easter eggs ! When I came first to Belgium in 1958 it was Easter and no Easter bunny in the shops, it just didn’t exist. Now of course the windows are full with decoration, but the children still believe that’s the bells bringing the eggs. That’s why there was no Easter bunny at the egg hunting in Waterloo.

    Zaki said:

    I’m struck!!! Great Island and great history. The only thing won’t let me sleep now)) whether there are the witches nowadays.That’s very interesting! Because I believe they do! Definitely in Ukraine! But they do not have there such places for “cooperation”)) But really the old people say that witches hide now from the people not to be uncovered. But I do want to visit the island!! Thank you for the info :twisted:


    I used to celebrate easter with my cousins every year, but it has never actually crossed my mind until now that maybe it was strange that all the boys also dressed as witches… funny, it actually is a bit strange..
    I have never actually seen a round church in Sweden, when you’re a tourist you often see more things than the locals! ;)

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