I love Easter in Germany. It’s full of decorations, rituals and get togethers – almost like a mini Christmas but with better weather promising the arrival of spring.
It is a bigger celebration than anything I experienced in the UK. This could be because in my childhood we were not frequent churchgoers, but I don’t think it’s just down to that. At nursery and school we didn’t do much for Easter either – the odd Easter egg competition but that was that. Mostly, we were concerned with chocolate.
But as at Christmas, the Germans, whether actively religious or not, stay loyal to older, family-oriented traditions, which start before the official Easter-time from Good Friday onwards begins.
1. Blowing Eggs
The first Easter-related activity is decorating eggs. This takes place a good couple of weeks before Easter and involves blowing out the contents of the egg through a tiny pin prick in the bottom and top. The egg shells are rinsed and left to dry. They are then carefully painted by children and grown-ups alike in a cacophony of colours. Continue reading →
The origins of Frankfurter Grüne Sosse (green sauce) are not entirely clear. It is largely believed that the Romans brought it from the Near East. But the route the recipe followed from Italy to Hessen (where it is today a celebrated local speciality) is disputed. Some say it was introduced in Hessen by Italian trading families, others that the recipe travelled to France and was later brought to Germany by French Huguenots – a story which makes some sense, given that the second largest settlement of Huguenots in what is now Germany was in Hessen in the late seventeenth century. What I know for sure, however, is that Easter is not Easter in my parents-in-law’s house in Hessen without at least one meal of Grüne Sosse. Continue reading →
I’ve experienced several “American expat in Germany” rites of passage since I first moved to Germany, which was eight years ago: having a German wedding, learning to drive stick in the Swabian Alps, figuring out what goes in the Gelber Sack, pregnancy, giving birth, Kita/Kindi and now Grundschule. Our oldest is a Vorschulkind, or a child on the verge of entering school. She’s participated in special group activities at Kindi as well as attended welcome events at her future school in preparation.
The anticipation and the excitement is the same here as in America. But, the rituals, as ever, seem to be better defined and executed in such a way that really makes you feel like you are preserving a tradition from the same photo from generation to generation. The first one we experienced was the selection and purchase of the Schulranzen or school satchel. I’ve never seen anything like it before moving to Germany. It is a massive, structured square, kind of like a mini suitcase, that the children wear on their backs. Continue reading →