What I like the most about Germany is how people here really enjoy every season. In Brazil, Rio to be more specific, I felt we had summer all year long except for about 3 colder months (June, July and August), when the temperatures can drop until 15°C at night. But it´s definitely not only about the weather and the changing colors of nature. Germany celebrates the arrival of every season with festivals, fairs and house decoration items. Talk about a party enthusiast! I actually really enjoy visiting my in-laws during different times of the year, so I can take a tour around the house and find articles specific for every festivity!
Easter is definitely one of the most celebrated occasions! If you are in Germany around this time of the year, you will realize all shops are decorated and selling Easter ornaments like eggs and bunnies. At first, my impression was “pfff…who´s gonna buy this?”. Well, maybe not everybody, but I soon learned that, yes, it is very common to garnish windows, tables and shelves with Easter adornments. Many, actually, go the extra mile and change pillow cases, bedlinen and even kitchenware, embracing the season full throttle! Though I wouldn´t do it myself (since it sounds like too much extra housework), I do appreciate the holidays feeling you get once you step inside a committed household like this. My in-laws even have cute bunny napkins during this time of the year, which I find adorable!
My favorite articles are definitely the bunny families. You can find bunnies for the garden or for the inside of the house, and many are portrayed as engaged in different daily activities like reading, gardening, cutting wood, dancing, and so on. Eggs, which symbolize life and fertility, are also used as decoration: they are normally put in baskets in the kitchen. One of the coolest traditions, which goes on since the 12th century, is to paint the eggs on Easter Saturday. Though red used to be the most used color, illustrating Christ´s blood and love, today the tradition became a bit more loose – you can find eggs in every color and design! Before the holidays, many magazines and tv shows give tips about how to craft different ornaments and drawings on eggs, which is also a super fun activity for the whole family!
One of the reasons why Easter is so loved in Germany is because it is the first festivity people can enjoy outside after a long, loooong, never-ending winter. No wonder the kids are more than happy to look for hidden chocolate eggs outside on Easter Sunday! Another habit is to light candles on Easter Saturday night, symbolizing the bringing of light against sorrow and death. In this perspective, many cities have the Osterfeuer, a big bonfire usually lit on Saturday, meaning renewal and rebirth. Even if you are not a catholic, I think we can all appreciate a tradition which is full of meaning.
Talking about traditions, the Easter tree is maybe the one you will spot first, popping up here and there, during the weeks before the holiday. This one is easy to join: you just have to gather branches, put them inside a vase and decorate each branch with eggs in different spring colors. Those who have gardens can hang the eggs on plants and trees. It creates a beautiful colorful effect, which matches the mood of the season perfectly!
On Easter Sunday, the lunch table is normally full of ham, sausage, roulade, eggs (of course!) and sweets like cheesecake. The lamb is also a very important tradition, either as a savory main dish or as a delicious lamb-shaped cake. The kids absolutely love the sweet Osterlamm, especially when it comes with a creamy filling!
Now, of course the Germans found in Easter a reason to organize another seasonal market! Hey, I´m not complaining. Since we are still months away from my beloved Christmas´ markets, I take an Easter one anytime! The Easter markets are very different from the Christmas´ ones though. The Easter markets start about a month before the festivity, showcasing more types of crafted eggs and ornaments than you can count. By the way, by “eggs” here I mean basically the shape, since they sell not only real eggs but also porcelain, wood and stone in “egg” format. You can choose the ones which are ready to use or, if you are inspired, buy plain ones and instruments to draw on them yourself. There are even eggs with semi precious stones´ designs. Who says the Easter bunny can´t be high maintenance?