Easter traditions in Germany are similar to those found in other predominantly Christian countries, from the religious commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the ever so popular Osterhase. See below for a closer look at some of Germany's customs of rebirth and renewal. (Photos @ Wiki)
Many people gather around large bonfires reaching several meters high on the eve of Easter Sunday. Often the wood of old Christmas trees is used for this occasion.
This German custom is actually an old pagan ritual dating back to before Christ to symbolize the coming of spring. Back then it was believed that any home or field shone upon by the light of the fire would be protected from sickness and misfortune.
This hopping Easter creature is believed to originate from Germany. The first known account of der Osterhase is found in the 1684 notes of a Heidelberg professor of medicine, where he discusses the ill-effects of overeating Easter eggs. German and Dutch settlers later brought the notion of der Osterhase or Oschter Haws (dutch) to the U.S. in the 1700's.
Der Osterfuchs and other Easter Egg Deliverers
In some parts of Germany and Switzerland, children waited for der Osterfuchs instead. Children would hunt for his yellow Fuchseier on Easter morning which were dyed with yellow onion skins. Other Easter egg deliverers in German-speaking countries included, the Easter rooster (Saxony), the stork (Thuringia) and the Easter chick. Unfortunately in the past several decades these animals have found themselves with continual less delivery jobs as der Osterhase has gained more wide-spread fame.
It's only in recent years that I've seen miniature Easter trees being sold in North America. This Easter tradition from Germany is probably my favorite. Beautifully decorated Easter eggs are hung on branches in a vase in the home or on trees outside adding a splash of colour to spring's palette.
Das Gebackene Osterlamm
See more on Traditional German Easter recipes.