Easter, a time of celebration and festivities. Chocolate, food, and church mass; these are all a part of what we consider Easter. Easter in America is a celebration of family values, accompanied by great food, an annual Easter egg hunt and deep rooted religious ideals. So, could you imagine an Easter with bonfires, sweet bread, and festive trees?
Luckily you don’t have to imagine, as Germany displays this cultural style and charm, expanding our understanding of Easter traditions through festive activities and colorful displays. During the season of lent, parades and festivals fill the streets as communities come together to celebrate to start of the holiday season. Delicious scents fill the air as cakes, doughnuts and other sweets are eaten and enjoyed. There is no better time to celebrate your German heritage than around Easter time.
Celebrating this holiday over 4 days, Easter begins on Green Thursday (Gründonnerstag); a day in which German’s eat food that is colored green to commemorate the start of Easter. In some households, this ‘green’ food is vegetables, while in others, it’s green cake. The second day: ‘Good Friday’, German families set up an Easter egg tree (Ostereierbaum). These trees typically sprout flowers and buds during this period. From here, the trees will be covered in hand painted Eggs, creating a sight like no other.
On Easter Saturday, the night is illuminated as families and groups gather to ignite bonfires. This tradition has deep roots in spirituality, acting as a deterrent for evil spirits. In some regions, a large wheel is set ablaze and rolled down a hill to promote good harvest.
After a long night surrounded by family and warmth, the German population gather Sunday morning to eat decorated sweet bread (Osterbrot). This bread has been prepared days in advance, ready for the coming Sunday. Finally, German families usually enjoy a lamb dinner to round off the holiday.