5 German traditions you can do at home for Easter 2021
Easter has come round again and this year, we will have to celebrate from the safety of our own homes. So, instead of spending the Easter holidays wallowing in self-pity, here are five traditional German activities you can do from home.
Celebrate Easter the traditional German way
It goes without saying that Easter will be a little different this year. The continued presence of coronavirus in Germany has put an end to any hopeful plans of large-scale Easter egg hunts and coming together with friends and family to enjoy the four-day weekend.
However, this by no means implies that you have to spend Easter locked indoors, staring glumly at the TV. It’s time to celebrate this Easter from the comfort and safety of your own home in the traditional German way. There are plenty of Easter traditions in Germany, as you can probably imagine! Here are five you can do from home to spice up your Easter this year.
1. Paint Easter eggs
This one goes without saying, doesn’t it? This tradition has been around in Germany for centuries. In fact, the oldest decorated egg ever found has been dated back to the fourth century AD and was found in a sarcophagus near Worms in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Eggs are a symbol of new life, which ties in nicely with the whole meaning of Easter: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you want to get really traditional, you can try dying your eggs with natural materials, like cabbage, tea or spices.
2. Set up an Easter egg hunt
One of the most popular Easter traditions around the world is the humble Easter egg hunt. Large-scale hunts might be off the cards this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set your own one up! It’s as easy as hiding a few eggs around the house.
Another egg-cellent German tradition is the practice of “Eierklopfen” or egg tapping, although the game is known by a myriad of names across the country. Essentially, two people each hold a hard-boiled egg in one hand and tap it against their opponents. The aim is to crack your opponent’s egg while keeping your own whole.
3. Decorate a tree
Another popular Easter tradition in Germany is decorating trees. Known as an Osterbaum, an Easter tree is decorated using painted eggs and colourful ribbons. So, head out into the garden and bring Easter into your home. If you don’t have any trees, why not try decorating your houseplants or creating a nice window display to charm passersby?
4. Light an Easter bonfire
Another popular German tradition is lighting bonfires on the eve of Easter Sunday. This practice was traditioanlly a way of marking the end of winter and the coming of spring, as well as a means to ward off any evil spirits!
Usually, loads of people gather around huge public bonfires. This won't be possible this year, for obvious reasons, but there’s nothing stopping you from making a small fire in your back garden and seeing in Easter Sunday with campfire songs and toasted marshmallows. Just make sure to take the necessary precautions.
5. Whip up an Easter feast
It wouldn’t be a German holiday without plenty of traditional food. There are many different dishes that are traditionally eaten over Easter in Germany, fish being one such dish. This stems from an old Christian tradition, where, in the lead up to Easter, and especially on Easter Sunday, people would avoid red meat; a rule that was promulgated by the Vatican. People were permitted to eat “cold-blooded” meats, however, which gave rise to the tradition of fish at Easter.
Another German Easter culinary practice is eating green foods. This tradition stems from Maundy Thursday, the day of the last supper. In German, Maundy Thursday is known as Gründonnerstag and while grün does not translate to “green” in this instance, many Germans still eat green foods on the Thursday, and even over the entire Easter weekend!
On Easter Sunday, it is traditional to have a lamb dinner. This is to remember and honour the sacrifice that Jesus Christ, “the lamb of God”, made for our sins. The lamb dish is usually served with potatoes and fresh vegetables. Many Germans also bake lamb-shaped cakes over Easter, which is another fantastic activity to enjoy at home over the weekend.
Happy Easter everyone!
So, there you have it: five German traditions you can observe from the safety of your own home. This past year has been difficult for all of us, and it is important to stay positive. Take the time to connect with your loved ones, enjoy Easter traditions, welcome the arrival of spring and have fun over the Easter weekend!