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 © 2002-2017 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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A PDF printable birthday dates calendar for notable people from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, plus the dates of holidays and observations. More: The German Way Birthday and Holiday Calendar


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

OSTERFEIERTAGE • Daten 2017-2021
Dates of the Easter celebrationFrom Mardi Gras to Pentecost
Fasching (Mardi Gras)
Shrove Tuesday
28. Februar 2017
13. Februar 2018
5. März 2019
25. Februar 2020
16. Februar 2021
For more about Mardi Gras (Fasching) in German-speaking Europe, see: Fasching and Karneval.
(Ash Wednesday)
1. März 2017
14. Februar 2018
6. März 2019
26. Februar 2020
17. Februar 2021
Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) 9. April 2017
25. März 2018
18. April 2019
5. April 2020
28. März 2021
Karfreitag (Good Friday) 14. April 2017
30. März 2018
18. April 2019
10. April 2020
2. April 2021
Ostern (Easter) 16. April 2017*
1. April 2018
21. April 2019
12. April 2020
4. April 2021
Christi Himmelfahrt
(Ascension Day)
25. Mai 2017
20. Mai 2018
30. Mai 2019
21. Mai 2020
13. Mai 2021
Pfingsten (Pentecost) 4. Juni 2017
20. Mai 2018
9. Juni 2019
31. Mai 2020
23. Mai 2021
*As in 2010, 2011 and 2014, for Easter in 2017 both the Eastern and Western churches will observe the holiday on the same date, despite having different methods for calculating the date.
Easter tree

An indoor Easter egg tree (Osterstrauch) in Berlin. PHOTO: Chloë Daniel


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 egg tree/branch (see photo above)der Osterstrauch (-sträucher)
Easter fountain/well der Osterbrunnen (-)
Easter holiday, vacation die Osterferien (pl.)
Easter mass die Ostermesse (-n)
Easter Monday der Ostermontag
Easter service der Ostergottesdienst (-e)
egg das Ei (Eier)
egg shell die Eierschale (-n)

German Immersion Online


flower die Blume (-n)

More on The German Way
Eggs on trees – 5 favourite German Easter traditions
Spring has sprung, officially
Two German Way Expat Blog posts about Easter and spring


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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