Easter in Germany

Easter in Germany

Easter in Germany is a special time for families.  There are a multitude of Easter traditions from Good Friday to Easter Monday to embrace and ensure fun celebrations.  Read below as Archer Relocation guides you through the traditions surrounding Easter in Germany.  

Easter in Germany – It’s all about the eggs.

Colouring Painting eggs for Easter is a tradition in many countries, and the custom of painting eggs for Easter has been around since the 4th century AD.  But Germans, in particular, love colouring their eggs.  To inspire creativity, Easter egg colouring kits can be found at most supermarkets, DM and Rossman stores this time of year.  You can always buy pre-boiled and coloured eggs at the supermarket, but painting your own Easter eggs is a worthwhile German custom. Once the eggs are coloured, many German children take to playing Ostereiertitschen, or Eierklopfen (Easter Egg Tapping). Two players hold their hard-boiled (and painted) eggs in one hand and try to crack the other person’s egg.  The catch is that there must be as little cracking as possible to their own egg. The egg that comes away with the least amount of damage wins.  This is a game that signals Easter in Germany!

Decorating If you have ever spent an Easter in Germany, you will remember the Ostereierbaum, or Easter Trees, from gardens, trees in the neighborhoods and in many shops.  These trees are traditionally decorated with hollowed eggs that have been intricately painted.  One egg per day is added to a tree for the 40 days of Lent. If you do not have the perfect outdoor tree, it is perfectly acceptable to hang the eggs from branches in a vase.  The Germans call this arrangement an Osterstrauss.  Additionally, an Osterkranz, or Easter wreath, provides another medium for decorating with colored eggs.  

Easter in Germany – Egg hunting or Ostereiersuche

Eggs hunt are a part of Easter all over the world, but the original idea actually came from Germany. Many different theories circulate as to how exactly the Osterhase, or Easter Bunny, came to deliver Easter eggs.  The many stories that circulate around Easter in Germany focus on an Easter goddess names Ostaria, farmers paying landowners in the period with eggs and even that the Osterhase has a connection to the theme of resurrection and eternal life. Hundreds of years ago, there were fox, cranes and storks helping the Osterhase with all of the heavy Easter egg delivery.  But by the end of World War II, the Osterhase became the mainstream leader of Easter egg delivery all over Germany.

Easter in Germany – The Fire

As Lent draws to a close, Easter Sunday brings around another German tradition: the bonfire. The Easter Bonfire is a symbol to celebrate the introduction of spring and used as a means to wipe away the evil spirits of winter. These bonfires are built with unused wood or even old, dried-out Christmas trees.  However, some regions, like North Rhine-Westphalia, have an Easter tradition that entails of stuffing straw in a large wooden wheel, setting it on fire and rolling it down a hill.  It is said that, if the wheel runs straight, it is a sign of a good harvest to come.

Easter in Germany – The Food

Doughnuts

Depending on where you are celebrating in Germany, the doughnut has a different name — Berliner, Krapfen, Fasnacht or Pfannkuchen.  In more traditional times, doughnuts were made on Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday) so that all of the lard, sugar, fat and butter in the pantry was consumed before the fasting of Lent began. These days, this humble doughnut is available in all bakeries, and it is much harder to abstain from all of the goodness during Lent!

Green cakes Maundy Thursday can also be called Green Thursday, or Gründonnerstag. This relates back to the pre-Christian tradition of eating green herbs and leaves at the beginning of spring.  In present day, the green is translated into the food.  Frankfurt has a green sauce, Central Germany has a famous green cake, and some parts of Germany even prepare a green herb soup!

Easter bread Easter in Germany brings an abundance of bread, brioche and cake.  Easter is a time for baking! These braided sweet breads, strewn with raisins and candied fruit peel, make a wonderful centrepiece for the feast table and are enjoyed by all ages. You will even find bread formed into the shape of lambs, as the lamb is a symbol of Jesus Christ.

Easter in Germany – What’s on

The most enjoyed German tradition over Easter is to spend time in the outdoors.  Time off from work means quality time in nature. Many families go for a walk on Easter Monday, Ostermontag, so be sure to give them a nod when you are out enjoying the fresh air of Spring! For a list of what’s on in Berlin over the Easter weekend head to Visit Berlin to find a list of bonfires, markets and concerts to enjoy:

https://www.visitberlin.de/en/easter

Happy Easter from the Archer Relocation Team!

Contributed by Charmaine. Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, and along with her husband, is the founder and content manager of the online travel guide My Guide Berlin.

 

*********************************************************************

Archer Relocation has been providing relocation services to families, individuals and companies in Berlin since early 2015.  Managing Director, Emily Archer, founded the company desiring to use her first-hand experience as an expat to make the relocation process as smooth as possible for others moving to Berlin.  Read other useful information about moving to and living in Berlin, such as ‘How to Find a Berlin Apartment’, on our Berlin Blog.  

Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with our Berlin Blog posts and other Berlin expat news here.  

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram