Germany’s Traditions: Easter

Germany’s Traditions: Easter

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

For many, Easter is a sacred holiday for commemorating Christ’s resurrection. It’s also viewed as a chance to welcome spring. In Germany, that is no different than in the United States. However, our host nation offers its own customs and traditions. Here are some you may experience.

Easter Market (though not this year)

This is by far my favorite custom! Any season that includes its own special markets ranks at the top of my list. The main feature of these markets are artisan-crafted eggs. They are handcrafted from a wide range of materials, including glass, wood and fabric. It’s fun to collect at least one from each market you attend. One could liken these to the tradition of collecting Glühwein mugs.

Easter Bunny

It is believed that the idea of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany, with the Germans and Dutch bringing it to the United States in the 1700s. Children make and leave nests in their yards for the Easter Bunny to leave presents. Similar to in the States, kids hunt for eggs and other treats on Easter morning.

Easter Tree

Beginning on or near Ash Wednesday, you’ll start seeing beautifully-decorated eggs hung from the branches of live trees and bushes outdoors. Some cut branches from trees, put them in vases inside their homes, and hang eggs from them. Twisted Willow tree branches will be commonly used. Their beautiful spiraled patterns add a wonderful whimsy to the decor. The eggs can be made out of hollowed-out real ones, plastic or styrofoam. This is the perfect spot to hang the collection you’ve made from Easter markets and any you or your family have made. Just like Christmas trees, who says you can only have one?

The Baked Easter Lamb

You can’t have a holiday without a traditional dessert to accompany it! In Germany, it’s “das Gebackene Osterlamm,” which is a delicious cake in the shape of a lamb — not an actual baked lamb. Stop by your local bakery to order one for your Easter festivities or consider finding a recipe online to make your own.

Easter Bonfire

Hay is put in a large wheel and set on fire. It’s then pushed down a hill. If the wheel makes it to the bottom intact, it is said that the harvest will be good that year. This tradition is only practiced by some northern areas of Germany, including Lügde in Weserbergland — the Osterradstadt (Easter city)— that has been following this tradition for more than a thousand years.

However you decide to celebrate Easter this year, consider incorporating some of Germany’s customs into the mix. "Frohe Ostern" (Happy Easter)!

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