How do Germans celebrate Easter?
Christmas had not yet been a distant dream of the past, when my local Sainsbury’s started getting out the Easter eggs and bunnies. It felt too soon, even if I’m as partial to sweet Easter treats as anyone (wrong: more than that). It’s just that this relentless commercialism related to what are essentially very non-commercial occasions is sometimes simply getting a bit too much.
For the purposes of this column, I’d like to say “Tss, in Germany, we don’t do this kind of thing, chocolate eggs, bunnies and the like. It’s all about values and serious stuff”. However, I can’t. In fact, the tradition of the Easter bunny bringing the Easter eggs that led to the manifold chocolate manifestations of our furry little friends actually originated in Germany, more than 300 years ago in the ‘Pfalz’ region left of the Rhine, its French neighbouring region Alsace and along the Upper Rhine. The first edible Easter bunnies allegedly appeared in the early 1800s, made of pastry and sugar. And somehow, it all travelled to the UK, and now children here, just like in Germany, hunt for Easter eggs in the garden that were left by the Easter bunny.
There’s a difference, though. While in Germany we still trade in proper, hard-boiled eggs that are dyed in various colours, I have the feeling that if it’s not chocolate, it wouldn’t really work here. In Germany, if you go to your local bakery or butcher, for example, in the run-up to Easter, it’s not uncommon to be given proper Easter eggs as a gift, and you can thus accumulate quite an impressive collection of extra snacks: provided you like hard-boiled eggs. Another egg-related tradition that I haven’t really seen practised on these shores (please correct me!) is ‘Eierausblasen’. Only thinking of it makes me dizzy because that’s what usually happened when I engaged in this typical kids (and grown-ups) pre-Easter activity of ‘blowing out’ eggs in order to then paint and decorate their empty shells. It’s hard work, this emptying the egg of its content using only the power of your lungs. And if this tradition sounds weird to you, well, try it first and judge later.
I was never very good at the whole egg decorating thing which is in line with my general lack of artistic talent, however, always very keen on egg hunting and running excitedly round the garden. I can still remember my delight when discovering an ‘Osternest’ – little basket – full of eggs, both real and chocolate, and Easter bunnies. Actually, why is it only children who are engaging in this activity? Personally, I wouldn’t mind spending some time on Easter Sunday rummaging around in the grass for some goodies. So, if someone wants to send me out along with their children, I promise to leave something for the kids. Or I might just get myself a Cadbury’s Creme Egg and keep it simple…
Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.
TEXT: BARBARA GEIER | PHOTOS © PIXABAY
‘Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’
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