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How to Survive in Germany Part 15: Easter

Easter Traditions in Germany

Easter in Germany is full of traditions. Did you know that the legend of the Easter Bunny originated here? Read on to learn more about Easter in Germany.

This is part of my series about surviving in Germany based on my own experiences.

The Easter Bunny (Osterhase)

The first written mention of the Easter Bunny appeared in a dissertation by a Frankfurt doctor titled “Von Ostern Eier” (About Easter Eggs). In it, he related a story from his son, who’d witnessed a tradition in northern Germany wherein children searched for eggs that had been hidden by a rabbit.

Today, the Easter Bunny is a mythical figure similar to Christkind or Santa Claus, who brings gifts to children. In Germany, there is even Easter mail, where children can write letters to the Easter Bunny. The gifts consist mostly of colored eggs and chocolate, but some kids also receive toys, books, and/or clothes.

Easter Traditions in Germany

A Second Christmas

Easter in Germany is a big celebration, second only to Christmas. Not only do children receive gifts, but people decorate the outside of their houses by hanging decorative Easter eggs on bushes. They also do this inside by decorating branches placed in vases (as pictured above).

And similarly to Christmas in Germany, the monday after Easter is a public holiday, to allow more time to visit with other family members.

Typical Easter foods include an Osterkranz, a yeast-dough bread in the shape of a wreath, and cakes in the form of a lamb (Osterlamm).

Coloring Easter eggs

Germans prefer to color hard-boiled eggs and save the plastic eggs to use as decorations. A few months before Easter, stores start selling egg coloring kits. Supermarkets sell colored eggs for those who don’t want to go to the trouble.

Easter Egg Coloring Kits

The colored eggs are used as decoration and consumed on Easter at dinner with bread (Abendbrot) or for breakfast the next day.

Coloring Easter Eggs

Easter Nests

Easter egg hunts involve searching for a basket or nest full of colored eggs and chocolates. Some families scatter the contents of the nest to make the hunt more fun for the children.

Easter Traditions in Germany

Egg Tapping (Ostereiertitschen)

A traditional game before consuming the colored eggs is for two people to tap their eggs against each other. Whoever cracks the other’s eggs is the winner. This person can continue playing until their egg is cracked and they can open it.

Traditional Easter Game  - Egg Tapping
An egg tapping game during Easter brunch, which included an Osterkranz.

What is your favorite Easter tradition? I always loved Easter egg hunts, though we didn’t do them as often when I was growing up in Puerto Rico.

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