Easter: English-German Vocabulary


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Easter | Spring | Frühling | Ostern | Osterhase | Osterei

An Annotated English-German Glossary of Easter Terms
In this annotated English-German glossary, you’ll find vocabulary and facts related to the Easter celebration and springtime customs in German-speaking Europe.


“Frohe Ostern!” means “Happy Easter!”
PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Also see the German-English version of this glossary and the Easter Greetings section below.

adj. (adjective), adv. (adverb), lit. (literary), n. (noun), pl. (plural), sl. (slang), v. (verb), vul. (vulgar)

Glossary Copyright © 2002-2016 Hyde Flippo


Ascension (of Christ) die Himmelfahrt
Ascension Day Christi Himmelfahrt (40 days after Easter)
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mariä Himmelfahrt (15. August)
Ash Wednesday der Aschermittwoch
»» The day after Carnival/Mardi Gras ends and when Lent begins also marks the start of the Easter cycle. Aschermittwoch gets its name from the ashes of burnt palm fronds from the previous Palm Sunday – used to mark the foreheads of the faithful. Also see: Fasching and Karneval.


bunny der Hase (-n), das Häschen (-)
Easter bunny der Osterhase
»» The Osterhase tradition dates back to a 1678 account by the German medical professor Georg Franck.

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Carnival, Mardi Gras der Fasching, die Fastnacht, der Karneval
»» The date for Karneval or Fasching/Fastnacht depends on the date of Easter. See: Fasching and Karneval for more.
chick, baby chicken  das Küken (-)
Christ (der) Christ, Christi, Christus
»» The term Christ/Christus comes from the Greek “christos” for the Hebrew “messiah” or “anointed one” (der Gesalbte).
Christianity das Christentum
Christ’s grave/tomb das Grab Christi
color, dye v. (eggs) (Ostereier) färben
colored/dyed eggs gefärbte Eier
colorful bunt
cross das Kreuz (-e)
crucifix das Kruzifix
crucifixion die Kreuzigung (-en)
crucify kreuzigen



Osterglocken im Frühling.
PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

daffodil die Osterglocke (-n) – See photo.
decorate, paint (eggs) (Ostereier) bemalen, verzieren
decorated eggs bemalte Eier, verzierte Eier
dye, color v. (eggs)  (Ostereier) färben
dyed/colored eggs gefärbte Eier

Dates of the Easter celebrationFrom Mardi Gras to Pentecost
Fasching (Mardi Gras)
Shrove Tuesday
4. März 2014
17. Februar 2015
9. Februar 2016
28. Februar 2017
For more about Mardi Gras (Fasching) in German-speaking Europe, see: Fasching and Karneval.
(Ash Wednesday)
5. März 2014
18. Februar 2015
10. Februar 2016
1. März 2017
Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) 13. April 2014
29. März 2015
20. März 2016
9. April 2017
Karfreitag (Good Friday) 18. April 2014
3. April 2015
25. April 2016
14. April 2017
Ostern (Easter) 20. April 2014*
5. April 2015
27. März 2016
16. April 2017
Christi Himmelfahrt
(Ascension Day)
29. Mai 2014
14. Mai 2015
5. Mai 2016
25. Mai 2017
Pfingsten (Pentecost) 8. Juni 2014
24. Mai 2015
15. Mai 2016
4. Juni 2017
*As in 2010, 2011 and 2014, the date for Easter in 2017 marks an unusual event: Both the Eastern and Western churches will celebrate Easter on the same date, despite having different methods for calculating the date.


Easter das Ostern (-)
»» at Easter an/zu Ostern
»» on Easter (Day) an Ostern
»» Happy Easter! Frohe Ostern!
»» Happy Easter! Ein frohes Osterfest!

Easter bonfire, Easter fire Osterfeuer, das (-)
»» The Easter bonfire custom is popular in some regions of Germany, mostly in the Northwest. But Easter fires are also found in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and parts of Austria and Switzerland. The fires take place after dark on various days of the Easter celebration, depending on the region.

Easter bunny der Osterhase (-n)
Easter card die Osterkarte (-n)
Easter egg das Osterei (-er)
Easter holiday, vacation die Osterferien (pl.)
Easter mass die Ostermesse (-n)
Easter service der Ostergottesdienst (-e)

egg das Ei (Eier)
egg shell die Eierschale (-n)

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flower die Blume (-n)


Good Friday der Karfreitag
»» The Friday before Easter commemorates the day of Christ’s Crucifixion. The week leading up to Easter (Holy Week, Passion Week) is known as die Karwoche.

Glossary continues below…


Easter Greetings (Ostergrüße)
If you’d like to send someone Easter greetings or eine Osterkarte (an Easter card) in German, here are some suggested phrases and sentiments you can use.

Frohes Osterfest! Happy Easter! (“happy easter celebration”)
Frohe Ostern! Happy Easter!
Österliche Grüße von… Easter greetings from… (your name)

Herzliche Ostergrüße! Viel Spaß beim Eiersuchen!
Heartfelt/Warmest Easter greetings! Have fun with your (Easter) egg hunt.
Wir wünschen euch von Herzen ein frohes Osterfest und sonnige Frühlingstage!
We wish you (all) sincerely a happy Easter celebration and sunny spring days!
Zu Ostern wünsche ich dir stressfreie Tage und viel Erfolg bei der Eiersuche.
For Easter I wish you stress-free days and good luck (“much success”) hunting for eggs.
Ein frohes und gesegnetes Osterfest! Wir wünschen euch viele bunte Eier und erholsame Feiertage!
A happy and blessed Easter! We wish you (all) many colorful egss and restful holidays!


Happy Easter! Frohe Ostern!
Holy Week, Passion Week die Karwoche (-n)
»» The week leading up to Easter (Holy Week) is known as Karwoche in German.

Perfect Phrases German

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Jesus of Nazareth Jesus von Nazareth (“Jesus” pron. YEH-ZUS)


lamb das Lamm (das Osterlamm)
Lent, the Lenten season die Fastenzeit
»» Lent, the 40-day Fastenzeit, begins on Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch) and ends at Easter (Ostern).


Mardi Gras Fasching – Karneval

Mary Magdalene Maria Magdalene


paint, decorate (eggs) (Ostereier) bemalen
palm, palm tree die Palme (-n)
palm frond der Palmwedel
Palm Sunday der Palmsonntag
»» The Sunday before Easter gets its name from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (der Einzug Jesu in Jerusalem) when palm branches were strewn before him.
paschal festival das Passahfest, das Osterfest
»» The terms “paschal” and Passah– are derived from Hebrew Pesach and Greek Pascha – and are related to the Jewish Passover.
paschal lamb das Osterlamm
Passover das Passah/Passahfest (see “paschal festival” above)
Passover meal (Seder) das Passahmahl
Pentecost, Whitsun das Pfingsten
More under “Whitsun”
pope, the der Papst


Resurrection (of Christ) die Auferstehung
Romans, the die Römer (pl.)
Rome (das) Rom


Shrove Tuesday der Fastnachtsdienstag, der Faschingsdienstag
spring der Frühling, das Frühjahr
St. Peter’s Square der Petersplatz


tulip die Tulpe (-n)


Whitsun, Pentecost das Pfingsten
»» The 50th day after Easter or Passover. (Der 50. Tag nach Ostern.) The seventh Sunday (Whitsunday) after Easter commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (die Herabkunft des Heiligen Geistes auf die Apostel).

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