No one in town can quite remember when the tradition of wearing a cedar wreath to scare off evil spirits began. Some people say it was passed down from generation to generation, while others believe that the tradition dates back centuries, and is rooted in old Nordic mythology. In order to wear a wreath, you have to be an unmarried woman between the age of 18 and 30, because the tradition started when young women were considered vulnerable to supernatural forces. According to some residents, wearing it can prevent illness, bad luck, failed relationships, financial ruin, mental unrest, and even death.
Wreaths are woven out of fresh cedar branches during the summer months by older unmarried women who live in the surrounding area. Some of these women are renowned for making the very best wreaths, which are put up for sale in the town square every autumn. It is said that these particular wreaths can provide protection all year round, but it’s only during winter when evil spirits are at their most powerful that they really offer their full benefits. Women who cannot afford to buy them sometimes beg other people in town for spare wreaths, which they then use to hang outside their windows or on their front doors.
The practice of wearing a wreath to scare away evil spirits is one that has been passed down through the generations. The younger generation continues it because they have faith in its protective benefits, but they don’t really know how it came about. In this regard, the tradition has become a bit like religion – older residents remember its origins and respect it as part of their culture. Many people who have moved into the area from surrounding areas or from abroad also take part in this tradition now, because they respect those who do. Newcomers to the town sometimes ask older women to make them a wreath, or they buy one from locals who sell handmade goods in the square.