Germany has more Easter Traditions when compared to South Africa. The store windows are decked with Easter eggs and bunnies. You see lots of flowers and everything looks cheerful. Easter is a big deal in Germany. You can even visit an Easter museum in Stuttgart. German Easter coincides with Spring warmer weather and blooming Cherry blossom trees. Here’s a roundup of Germany’s Easter traditions because it’s always interesting to learn about how other countries celebrate well known holidays
The Easter tree (ostereierbaum)
People hang beautiful Easter eggs on twigs or on trees. These trees are displayed inside of homes, in shop windows and if you are in the area do visit the Easter tree in Saalfeld. Thousands are colourful trees are hung up on a tree in the Volker Kraft garden. The tree is so popular that around 8,000 visitors come to see it. There are 10,000 eggs hanging on the tree which has been decorated for years.
In Germany and South Africa are a key part of Easter. You can buy pre-decorated eggs, ones which come with dye which you can decorate yourself. Then you can also boil eggs and paint them. You will also find chocolate Easter eggs all over the place.
German Easter flower arrangements
In Germany, you will find flowers decorated with Easter themed items like Easter eggs and bunnies. I bought a small bouquet for my Easter Sunday table. I love this trend and it’s not something I have seen in Cape Town yet.
The Easter Bunny
The Easter bunny is popular in Germany. But, over there you can even buy bunny ears and stuffed bunnies. This is slowly coming over to South Africa but it does not have widespread yet. You won’t find these in every shop in my country. You will, however, get chocolate Easter bunnies in many stores.
German Easter Chocolates
According to trip savvy Kinder uberraschung (kinder surprise) is illegal in Germany. I remember eating these chocolates as a child and I loved the little toy inside. These chocolates geared at children were first created in Italy. And are deemed a choking hazard in the USA that’s why they are illegal.
German Easter Fountain
Osterbrunnen (Easter fountains) are normal fountains or wells decorated with vibrant Easter eggs, wreaths and ribbons at times. These public fountains are beautiful. They can be found mostly in Southern Germany where Catholicism is widespread. The most famous Easter fountain is located in Bieberbach. It draws in thousands of tourists.
German Easter cakes
In Germany there are a number of Easter cakes. I especially liked the look of the Lamb one. My friend brought one to my house but we ate the head off before I took a photo. It didn’t taste spectacular. I will say she bought it from Rewe as international students all our flats only had stove tops no ovens. I plan to bake this cake myself one day. Where will I find the lamb baking tin though is what I’m wondering? I found this recipe but I still have to bake it one day: http://www.mybestgermanrecipes.com/easter-lamb-cake/
German Easter Fires
On Saturday evening, states in the north of Germany light Easter bonfires. These fires symbolize chasing away the dark spirits of winter and welcoming the warmer weather. Read more about the history of German Easter fires:
When is Easter happening?
Dates for Easter 2019 are April 19th till April 22nd in both Germany and South Africa.
Easter weekend in Germany begins with a quiet Good Friday (Karfreitag). This means that loud noise is illegal on Good Friday. The day is observed as a day of rest. Public noise disturbances can land you a hefty fine. In many states, you aren’t allowed to dance on Easter Friday in Germany from 4am till 9pm. Berlin is the laxest but, many of the states observe this law. There’s also no slot machines, or sports events held on the day.
For many Christians, it’s the day when Jesus was crucified. This means that certain tools such as hammers and nails are not to be used on the day out of respect of the crucifixion. Many German families eat fish on Good Friday. Meat and poultry aren’t eaten as many Christians believe that Jesus sacrificed his flesh on the cross dying for the sins of humanity. This means meaty flesh shouldn’t be eaten on Good Friday. My church doesn’t observe this but, because I like pickled fish I usually eat it on Good Friday so I avoid meat because it’s a tradition, not religious belief. Pickled fish is made with onions, curry based spices, and fish. It is normally eaten cold but, I warm up mine because I’m weird like that. And there’s no way I’m eating cold fish.
If you want to make pickled fish find the recipe here: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/104444/cape-malay-pickled-fish/
In Germany there are Easter markets the ones in Cape Town aren’t as big yet. They aren’t well known either. You can buy flowers, Easter cakes and decorated Easter eggs both ornamental and chocolate ones. At these Easter Markets, you can also sometimes buy Easter themed chocolate and cake tins. I only went to one in Essen, Germany but there are massive ones. Read more: http://stationedingermany.com/living-in-germany/easter-markets-in-germany-fun-for-the-entire-family/
Easter Saturday evening is also when the Easter fires are burnt in certain places in the North of Germany. There was a fire in Duisburg in the region I was staying in. I ended up not going through.
Remember that Easter Saturday is the only day when supermarkets and other shops are open in Germany. If you don’t stock up on food you might have to go shopping at a crowded store. I suggest that you rather do your shopping beforehand.
Easter Sunday in Germany is similar to South Africa’s celebrations. Children go on Easter egg hunts, there is a morning church service and afterward lamb roast is eaten along with fresh vegetables.
Easter Monday like in South Africa is a quiet day which most people spend with their families. In Germany, though stores are closed. Shops in South Africa operate with limited hours but, are normally not completely closed for the entire day.
The public transport schedules change over the Easter weekend. And you will find, buses and trains are fuller than normal as many passengers are travelling home in Germany. In South Africa, the roads are usually busier.
In Germany, school holidays are aligned with Easter. This is not the case in South Africa. In Germany, schools are closed normally for 2 weeks. This means that there are many children and families who will travel and visit places like museums, restaurants and tourist sites at the time. Things are busier and hotels may be fully booked in certain places. With a bit of planning, you can avoid crowded areas and not getting a room just do pre-book as much as possible.
To read more about Easter in Germany click on these links:
I hope you have a wonderful Easter break if you are celebrating Easter. Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment and or contact me for online collaboration. I will get back to your comments however, I won’t be on social media much during this weekend.