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15 German Easter Traditions you need to know

Have you recently been to a German supermarket?

There can be no doubt: Easter is coming!


There are chocolate bunnies, chocolate chickens, chocolate eggs of all sizes... and, of course, decorations for every taste.


But: what about the Germans' homes? Do they really decorate their houses? And how do they spend their Easter holidays?


I will tell you all the secrets about German Easter Traditions right here!


Content

Conclusion


#1 When is Easter?


Easter does not have the same fixed date every year as, for example, Christmas: it's a moving holiday (beweglicher Feiertag).


The date is always the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring.


Easter is the most important and oldest festival of Christians. That's why almost all other movable holidays depend on the date of Easter.


Dates for Easter Sunday:

  • 31. March 2024

  • 20. April 2025

  • 5. April 2026


#2 How many Easter holidays are there?


Easter includes a whole series of holidays:

  • Palmsonntag - Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter)

  • Gründonnerstag - Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter)

  • Krafreitag - Good Friday, public holiday (the Friday before Easter)

  • Karsamstag - Saturday

  • Ostersamstag - Easter Sunday (the day we celebrate Easter)

  • Ostermontag - Easter Monday (public holiday)

At Easter itself, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Nowadays, most of these holidays are only celebrated by Christians, while the Easter Bunny comes to all families.


Tip:

Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays.


That means: all the shops are closed! So you must remember beforehand that you'll need to buy enough food!



#3 Colored Eggs


Colored Easter Eggs

The most important Easter tradition is the colored eggs.


First, they are hard-boiled and then colored with food coloring. In the supermarket or the drugstore, you can buy special coloring tablets.


This tradition stems from Lent, the period between Mardi Gras and Easter: it used to be forbidden to eat eggs during this time. To preserve the eggs, they were boiled.


At Easter, they are then hidden by the Easter Bunny and must be searched for.


This usually happens after Easter breakfast: ideally, the whole family then goes into the garden and the children enthusiastically look for the Easter eggs.


And if there is no garden or if it rains? Then, of course, the Easter Bunny comes into the apartment and hides the eggs behind the sofa, on the cupboard, under the table, behind the books...



#4 What brings the Easter Bunny?


Nowadays the Easter Bunny doesn't just bring "real" eggs anymore.


Of course, sweets are much more important for children!


Easter chocolates

Everything made of chocolate is popular: especially eggs with different fillings, but also rabbits, chicken, lambs, ... just everything that somehow goes with Easter.






The big Easter egg hunt usually happens right after the traditional Easter Breakfast:

Ideally, the whole family will go out into the garden and the small children will search for all the eggs that the Easter Bunny has hidden.


In years with a really warm Easter, the garden can be a "dangerous" place for the chocolates: By the time they are found, they may have already melted!


In some families, the Easter Bunny also brings bigger gifts like a new bike or toys for the garden.


Luckily, the Easter Bunny doesn't forget about the adults!


There is a huge variety of Easter eggs filled with alcohol, such as eggnog or whiskey.

You will also find a large selection of Easter chocolates, which are a little more expensive, and which you can give to good friends or colleagues.


Tip:

After Easter they are reduced in price … then I love looking for Easter eggs that I would not otherwise buy for myself.



#5 But … who is the Easter Bunny?


Unlike St. Nicholas, the Easter Bunny does not appear in public.


We know that he must be incredibly hardworking. Luckily he has a big family to help him paint the many, many eggs! Of course, sometimes an egg might break or one of his children is particularly clumsy. There are many stories and songs about that.


Interestingly, he somehow prefers to lay his eggs in nests or even in a basket! The nests are mostly made of Easter grass: this is wood shavings dyed green. This Easter grass is also in the basket. It looks nice and the eggs don't break so easily.


It is also believed that the Easter Bunny wears colorful clothing and may even be able to walk upright like a human.


Unfortunately, nobody has seen him yet.

Easter bunny vocabulary
Are these two normal rabbits or Easter bunnies?

In any case, just like eggs, rabbits are ancient symbols of fertility. So they go well with spring!



#6 Decoration in German homes


Germans love to decorate their homes to match the season.


Once the Christmas decorations are put away, we're happy for a few weeks to have the house a bit tidier again... and then we pull out the Easter decorations.


In families with children there is a lot of painting and handicrafts going on now:

Maybe the Easter Bunny will need a new nest to lay the eggs in. Egg cups for the breakfast table are also a nice craft idea.


But even if there are no small children: most people will put up some kind of decoration. These could be flowers that bring a splash of color into the home even if it might still be freezing cold outside. They will have an Easter Egg tree and/ or have real spring flowers like daffodils to start blooming in a pot.


The decoration doesn’t stop inside the homes: Some gardens are also decorated with colored eggs which are hanging on the branches.



#7 Blown-out eggs


Traditionally eggs are also blown out, painted, and then hung up for decoration.


Easter tradition in Germany: Blowing out eggs
The eggs are first blown out and then painted

To paint, watercolors or felt-tip pens can be used.

Of course, you can also drip candle wax onto the eggs or stick colored paper or stickers on them.

Child painting an Easter Egg

It's not that easy and always very exciting for the children!


But many adults also enjoy producing small works of art here.






#8 Easter Egg-Tree


This tradition is particularly beautiful in years when it is still cold outside:


One to two weeks before Easter you bring branches, for example from forsythia, fruit trees, or willow into your living room.


They are put in a vase with water and hung with the blown-out Easter eggs and other figures.

Easter decoration in Germany: Easter-Egg-Tree
Branches or twigs are decorated with Easter Eggs.

Because of the warmth in the house, the branches will soon start to bloom! This is beautiful and lasts for several weeks.



#9 Osterglocken: "Easter-Bells"


Daffodils got their German name because they bloom at Easter. Even before the festival, we think of Easter when we see them and they make us look forward to the festival.




#10 Easter as a family celebration


After Christmas, Easter is also the most important family celebration in Germany.

Thanks to the many holidays, it is a good opportunity to visit.


Celebrating Easter with the whole family

Tip:

The side effect is, of course, crowded trains and long traffic jams on the motorways.


You should therefore book your train ticket as far in advance as possible and reserve a seat.


And when driving, you should be prepared to have a lot of patience.

If you have small children, you can sing funny Easter songs in the car or watch out if you can spot the Easter bunny hopping by outside.



#11 Easter breakfast


Germans love their breakfast - and of course, there has to be a particularly nice Easter breakfast after the long Lent.


The table is festively decorated, for example with flowers, an Easter tablecloth, and special Easter napkins.


Obviously, this breakfast also includes colorful eggs!


Many families go to church at Easter.

Then breakfast may start a bit later and become an Easter brunch.



#12 Osterfladen, Osterzopf, Osterkranz ... Easter bread


Obviously, there must be a special Easter bread in Germany!


There are different variants depending on the region.

The shape may be different - for example, there may be a braid or a flat cake. There are variants with or without raisins, with almonds or nuts... but basically, it's a sweet yeast pastry that you slice like bread and that goes well with butter and jam.


German Easter bread and jam



#13 Traditional food: the Easter Roast


The traditional Easter meal is above all: lots and hearty.

The long Lent is finally over and people want to eat well again.


Typically, there is a roast lamb, best with green beans and potatoes or dumplings.


But Easter ham is also very popular.



#14 Easter lamb or Easter bunny: the cake


When we speak of an Easter lamb, it is not always a real roast: it may also be a cake of this shape.


A cake in the shape of an Easter Lamb
An Easter Lamb that even vegetarians love!

You need a special baking dish for this.

You may have guessed it: there is also an Easter bunny shape!


This cake is then simply dusted with powdered sugar or decorated with chocolate and sprinkles.



#15 Easter bonfire


Easter bonfires have been a custom for many centuries.

It was originally a Germanic, i.e. pagan, custom.


With this bonfire, people said farewell to winter, and at the same time celebrated the beginning of spring. The ashes were then scattered on the fields to make them more fertile.


As a religious custom, the Easter bonfire symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Today, the Easter bonfire often serves simply as an opportunity to meet friends and neighbors from the community. There can also be a happy party that lasts until the early morning.


 




 

German Easter Traditions - Conclusion

Now you know the 15 most important facts about Easter in Germany!

Do you have similar traditions? What was new for you? Write it in the comments - I look forward to hearing from you!



I wish you a happy Easter and hope that the Easter Bunny will work very hard to hide lots and lots of eggs for you!

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