Easter customs in Germany: Easter bunny, egg throwing & Co.
As with every festival, there are many different traditions at Easter. We have not only examined the traditional, but also the extraordinary German Easter customs for you.
Easter customs in Germany © pixabay.com
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As soon as the chocolate Santa Clauses have cleared the space in the supermarkets, golden Easter bunnies and jelly eggs move onto the shelves. The fir tree turns into an Easter shrub, the Christmas tree ball into a colorful Easter egg, and the Christmas market stroll turns into a cozy evening around the Easter fire.
Every year between March 22 and April 25 the most important Christian festival celebrated – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what about the many Easter customs and customs here in Germany??
Traditional German Easter customs and their meaning
When you remember your childhood, do you still remember what made Easter so special for you? The Easter bunny and the colored eggs were definitely an integral part of Easter for you too. But have you ever wondered what the rabbit has to do with Easter and why we paint eggs of all things? We have put together the answers to the most important questions about Easter customs for you.
1. The Easter egg
The egg has symbolized the emergence of new life and rebirth since pre-Christian times. In the early Christian era, an egg was placed in the grave to symbolize the resurrection. The dead and lifeless shell hides and encloses the new life, the chick. The Christian Church combines this with the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion. During Holy Week, the last week before Easter Sunday, Christians were prohibited from eating eggs. These were collected, stored and decorated with beautiful colors so that they could be consecrated and eaten on Easter Sunday. This custom has been preserved to this day and has become well known "Paint and search for Easter eggs" developed.
2. The Easter Bunny
Everyone knows it, the brown animal with the long spoons. But why exactly does this bring the Easter eggs? The hare, like the egg, has been a symbol of fertility and the origin of life since pre-Christian times. A rabbit, for example, can give birth to up to 20 cubs a year. Easter is also the festival of spring, and the rabbit is considered a messenger of spring. In connection with Easter eggs, the long ear is first mentioned in 1682. How it came to the symbiosis of eggs and rabbits and the origin of the myth of the Easter bunny, who paints and hides eggs, is unclear. One possible clue goes back to the Middle Ages: at that time it was customary to pay off your debts shortly before Easter. These were often redeemed in the form of property, the most common being rabbits or eggs.
Interestingly, in some German regions the fox, the rooster or the cuckoo brought the Easter eggs for a long time – but at some point Meister Lampe was largely able to prevail.
3. The Easter fire
Even if fire and light play an important role in the Christian faith: Behind this tradition is also a formerly pre-Christian custom. With the Easter fire, the evil winter spirits are to be driven out and spring is to be welcomed – a pagan ritual from the Middle Ages. Unlike today, it was vital for many people at that time that the cold season was as short as possible. In times of heating and supply from the supermarket, the tradition has remained, because of course most people still look forward to spring, warmer temperatures and more daylight.
So, if you don’t have any plans for the Easter night yet: grab your family and find a nice Easter fire near you; because what is an Easter without the smoky smell of fire in the nose?
Easter with a difference – crazy Easter customs in Germany
As with other festivals, the most varied traditions have developed in many regions at Easter. We have put together five extraordinary German Easter customs for you that can quickly outshine the Easter bunny with its colorful Easter eggs:
1. Easter bikes (Lower Saxony, Hesse, Alpine regions)
The Easter bikes are an exciting variation of the Easter fire: Large wooden bikes stuffed with straw are lit and rolled down a slope. This tradition is celebrated in some small northern German communities, but is also known in places in Hesse and in the Austrian Alpine regions. The town of Lüdge in the Weser Uplands has become particularly well-known: there is a large Easter bike race with a large audience followed by fireworks every year.
2. Egg throwing (Bavaria)
Egg throwing comes in various forms. In Bavaria, the egg is traditionally put in a woolen bag and flung on a meadow or pasture. The throw is repeated until the eggshell is broken, then you are eliminated. The winner is the one whose egg remains the longest intact and survives the most litters.
There are also different versions of egg throwing in other areas of Germany. In some regions, the Easter eggs are thrown over the house roof, often to a partner on the other side who has to catch the egg. It is said that the house should be protected from lightning.
3. Egg run, egg layer (Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate)
The traditional egg run exists in a few places in Germany and is carried out there in a similar way. An egg collector and a runner work together. The egg collector, also called Raffer in Rhineland-Palatinate, has to collect a large number of eggs that are evenly spaced on a planned route. His companion, the runner, must run to a certain point and back at the same time. The team that reaches the goal first wins the competition.
4. Easter egg pushing (Saxony)
In Saxony, eggs (or candy and fruit) are traditionally rolled down a slope, which the children below have to catch. Since the tradition in some places has turned into a larger spectacle with many visitors, colorful balls are used nowadays, which can then be exchanged for small gifts. But also in Bavaria or in East Frisia there are similar forms of egg pushing.
5. Easter riding (Brandenburg and Saxony)
The exact origins of Easter riding are unknown, today the processions take place on Easter Sunday. Men in tailcoats and top hats ride richly adorned horses along a defined processional route, traditionally to the neighboring town, and announce the resurrection of Christ on their way. Carriers with flags, a cross and a statue of Christ usually ride at the head of the procession. A large number of spectators watch the spectacle along the route in many places.
6. Easter post office
Children had been able to send their wish lists to Santa Claus for a long time, but for some time now the Easter bunny has also been answering letters from small fans from all over the world. In addition to the numerous Christmas post offices, there have also been two Easter post branches in Germany for some time now: in Ostereistedt and in Osterhausen. Admittedly, these are not centuries-old customs, but maybe a nice family tradition will develop from the post on the Easter bunnies?
Mail to the Easter bunny can be sent to:
|Mr. Easter Bunny
At the edge of the forest 12
Well, are you already coming up with a great idea for your Easter? Wonderful! We look forward to your pictures and very personal Easter stories. Just send us an email to [email protected] and with a little luck we’ll publish your ideas!
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