Last week, a friend noticed that we had updated our website with a fresh new look for Easter, their comment was a common one at this time of year…
‘The German Christmas Shop @ Easter??? So, you are starting up with this new trend too?’
‘Yes, new. This idea of decorating homes at Easter like we do at Christmas, have you seen that people even decorate Easter trees now?’
It is true that over the last five to ten years, decorating for Easter has become increasingly popular here in Australia. The tradition though is many hundreds of years old in Germany, so we really cannot call it ‘new’. Today, we are going to take a look at some fun German Easter traditions, hopefully they will inspire you to make your Easter a little more special this year.
No surprises here, right? Easter in Germany would not be the same without an egg or the ‘Osterhase’ (Easter Bunny). The tradition date back to pagan times in Europe where eggs and rabbits were used to symbolise the new life that spring brings.
While chocolate eggs (and bunnies) abound, an original tradition in Germany is to blow real Eggs and paint them on Good Friday. Decorated, these eggs would be placed in a basket ready for the Osterhase to hide in the Garden on the night before Easter. It is a wonderful discovery for children to find their own decorated eggs hidden in the garden.
The coming of warmer weather in Europe is celebrated by bonfires. Surprisingly, there is a tradition in some towns of stacking bonfires with the previous years’ Christmas trees. It sounds quite poetic in a way, tying the two main holidays in the Christian calendar together in this way.
Much smaller than their Christmas counterpart, an Easter tree can be elaborate, or it can simply be a bunch of greenery in a vase. The idea is ancient (and similar in many ways to Christmas) greenery was traditionally brought into the home to symbolise new life.
Over time, this evolved into the concept of an Easter tree and for the past few hundred years, Germans have kept this tradition alive in their homes at Easter.
Kristie's Oma loves this tradition. While she keeps things small (a small bunch of greenery from her garden), she decorates with a set of old wooden eggs, passed down from her mother. There is something very special about seeing four generations of family history on display. While the Easter tree may seem new to many of us here in Australia, it is an age old tradition that is worth exploring.
We love the easter tree so much that we have a dedicated post coming soon.
For something sweet over Easter you can always reach for some chocolate but in Germany, there is a tradition of baking cakes shaped like lambs. All over, bakery will dust off their lamb moulds at this time of year, ready to make thousands of these quirky but fun cakes.
We will be bringing a whole post to you about German Easter food traditions so stay tuned.
Easter is a wonderful time to make your own traditions. Most of us have Christmas all set, each year brings with it certain expectations and traditions. For most of us though, Easter does not have the same build up, it is a more relaxed time where we do not have as many obligations set in stone. We hope you have enjoyed looking at some German Easter traditions and who knows, maybe one or two will help you make some lasting memories with family and friends this year.
Have a great week.