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Celebrating Easter Traditions in Germany: Customs & Food

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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Discover the Easter traditions in Germany that will engage your senses and uplift your spirit. Ostern is a cultural celebration filled with delight, wonder, and the yummy food listed below.

Easter preparation actually starts many weeks before the date, sometime between March 22 and April 25. Its date is different every year and depends upon when Passover is celebrated. And that is based on the Jewish calendar and the lunar cycle. Easter is always on the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

Frohe Ostern!

German Easter Markets

Ostermarkt (Easter markets) are in many towns. This German tradition has been going on for generations, where families come together to have a fun day of trying different Easter treats and participate in loads of shopping.

German Easter Markets are a fun place to visit.auf dem Ostermarkt

At the charming market stalls, you'll find a wonderful assortment of ornamental pieces. Vendors offer everything from beautiful hand-painted eggs to handmade ornaments, often made of wood, as well as a wide variety of Easter crafts.

These items are highly sought-after, as Germans widely decorate their homes and gardens, especially with eggs to celebrate Easter with much enthusiasm. Yes, it's treated similarly to Christmas, meaning, of course, there is food. Lots of food and fun. Chocolate bunnies. Chocolate. Yum.

Decorate your home, German-style

If you can't make it to the German Easter markets, take a look at my handpicked selection of German-inspired decorations, perfect for adding a touch of tradition to your home. It's a curated list that also includes specialty items made in Germany.

Whether you're looking for something classic or offbeat, you'll discover items to bring a touch of German charm into your home. You'll find the following on my Amazon Shop:

Oma Gerhild
For more German-inspired items that make life easier and yummier, especially in the kitchen and for entertaining, follow my Amazon Storefront.
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German Easter Decorations

Since Easter eggs and Easter bunnies seem to have originated in Germany, much is seen of this in decorations throughout the country. And since it's the beginning of spring, flowers and baby chicks are also widely used.

Here's Oma's collection of German favorites in Easter Feast e-Cookbook. Grab your copy today!

Take a look at Oma’s Easter Feast eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

One of these German Easter traditions is the Osterbaum, the Easter tree. This is a small tree or several branches adorned with decorated hollowed-out eggs. 

Traditionally, raw eggs are prepared by poking pinholes at each end of the shell and blowing the contents out (saving the egg yolk and egg white mixture for Easter baking). These are then allowed to dry out. Once the inside is completely dry, the eggshells are dyed and/or hand painted. 

These eggs are hung with ribbons on the tree. If they are hung on just branches, an Osterstrauß, these are either hung from the ceiling or put into vases. Outside, these eggs are usually made from plastic or wood.

Painted Easter egg hanging from branches of a tree.Osterbaum

In some parts of Germany, one can find Easter fountains, which are the town's water fountain is decorated with flowers, ribbons, and eggs. This, as well as other older German customs from various regions of Germany, were grounded in religious meaning.

Many now, in modern times, are just passed along as a way to maintain the older traditions of German culture, having lost their original purpose.

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Hard-boiled eggs are colored and hidden in the garden for children to find on Easter morning. If it's too cold where you live, then throughout the house works. That's what my Mutti used to do for us children, and that's what we did with ours.

You can easily dye eggs using natural ingredients. A quick trip through the kitchen and you can be creative in dyeing eggs in a multitude of bright or pastel shades.

You can get the kids involved in decorating using markers, stampers, and even crayons after the eggs have been dyed. These eggs can then be used not only for the traditional Easter Egg Hunt, but also for decorating in one's home. 

Pop over to my Amazon Shop and grab these ready-to-go eggs and Easter stamps that are great for imprinting eggs and more (even home-made cards would be a creative idea).

The Easter Celebration – the Christian Holiday

Sunday before Easter

The Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, Palmsonntag, is celebrated with the carrying of bouquets as people go through towns on their way to church. Traditional for Palm Sunday would be palm bouquets. Since palms aren't naturally available in Germany, other plants are used, such as pussy willows, cedar, and ivy.

Thursday before Easter

On the Thursday before Easter, the actual celebration starts and continues through the weekend. German food is a major part of this!

Maundy Thursday, called Gründonnerstag (green Thursday) in Germany, naturally needs something grün (green) to eat. Making a cold sauce that includes the wonderful fresh herbs that can be found in the markets is a natural. Frankfurter Grüne Soße is the result. Other choices are soups made with celery, parsley, and/or leeks.

Serving Frankfurter Green Sauce (Frankfurter Grüne Soße) with boiled new potatoes and hard-boiled eggs is traditional for Maudy Thursday.

Friday before Easter

On Good Friday, Karfreitag, the beginning of the religious activities start, with church services remembering the crucifixion of Jesus. The main meal is usually some kind of fish dish. This is mainly a Catholic tradition, but many others also observe this, even in parts of Germany that aren't Catholic. This is a national holiday, meaning stores are closed, and it's a day to spend with family members.

Saturday before Easter

Saturday, Karsamstag, is often spent finishing the last of the preparations for Easter. Easter markets are open, and last-minute shopping, cooking, and baking takes place.

In the evenings, the Osterfeur, (Easter fire) is lit. This was a way to remember the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Perhaps just a candle would be lit, but typically, it's now a bonfire with a party atmosphere, especially for the young people. Prayer services occur in some churches starting on Saturday evening and continuing until dawn on Easter Sunday.

Either late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, the Easter treats, chocolate eggs and little gifts are hidden in the garden by the parents for their little ones.

Frohe Ostern!

It's Easter Sunday and with much joy, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. This, after all, is the main event, the reason for Easter. It's off to church to celebrate with the church bells ringing, after having been silenced on Good Friday.

After church, once home again, it’s time to enjoy the Easter dinner that has been prepared. Traditionally, the meat is roasted lamb, served with asparagus, potatoes, and a salad.

Of course, other meats can be served. As a treat, we usually had rouladen and potato dumplings, served along with spring peas and carrots.

After dinner, it's time to enjoy this Osterlammkuchen, Easter lamb cake.

Above, the German Easter lamb cake is waiting to be enjoyed after dinner. This one is sitting on a bed of paper grass with dark chocolate almonds sprinkled around.

Monday after Easter

The last day of this celebration is Easter Monday, Ostermontag. As a public holiday, this is again a family day. Since it's the end of winter and the beginning of spring, it's the perfect time to relax outdoors. Hiking is a favorite, as are picnics.

Some Traditional German Easter Recipes

Popular Easter Desserts 

Easter desserts often feature eggs, flowers, or bunnies as decorations. A lamb-shaped cake is common, but it’s always appropriate to serve traditional German tortes. A Hazelnuss Torte or the Obsttorte is a treat, as is the famous Black Forest Cake.

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Take a look here if you're looking for some unusual ways to celebrate Easter in Germany like a local.

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Celebrating Easter in Germany is a feast for the senses.
Use natural food dyes to color your easter eggs the easy way with your kids.

The GOOD NEWS

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