Tag Archives: Easter

Know your Easter Egg

They have been around for months now and that is probably why, when Easter finally comes around, I am surprised.

I mean all the Easter chocolates in their various shapes and sizes, such as Easter Bunnies, Eggs or Chickens. I have whined about this before (it´s my blog and I whine if I want to, whine if I want, whiiine if I want to). As soon as one festivity is over the chocolates or other typical foods for the next one pop up in all the shops, even if the celebration is still months away. So there they were all these months and me ignoring them until the very week Easter is actually happening. And then I say “Already?”.

If my children were still in german pre-school I would have had some warning when the teachers ask  for empty eggshells to be provided for the ritual painting of the eggs. At home you can boil your white eggs with onion skin or paint them with special food colours, if you can stand eating eggs that when you peel them they might be blue.

I was amused when a german educator at an international school, complained that she could not get the parents to join in the fun and bring in empty eggshells for their children to paint. Of course I only stated to the Educator that most of her parents are not used to this tradition, while I thought to myself that those parents might object to the rather yucky part of emptying an egg for the purpose.

Another way of knowing it really is time is when garden trees suddenly grow the colourful egg fruit. Trees that just barely are showing the first signs of spring, get a little push of cheer. It is not as widespread as decorating for Christmas and I still remember when I saw my first “Eggtree” in a village in the Taunus. The eggs were beautiful handpainted affairs and a little message of good cheer was attached to the fence. Maybe it all started in that little garden.

I remember Easter Egg hunts in my childhood. It was exciting scrabbling through the bushes and looking behind trees to find the treasures. By and by colourful “real” eggs, where replaced by the chocolate variety. One Easter brought a surprise which cannot be beat to this day: the birth of my baby sister. The eggs I remember from that easter, where the ones my Dad tried to fry, while my Mother was in hospital, and which he burnt.

The TV would be on on those Easter Sunday mornings, while we waited for the blessings by the Pope to be shown. It was always amazing and moving to see the crowds in Rome, waving their little flags from all over the world. As my older sisters moved out, it became part of the tradition that they would invite everybody for Easter Breakfast. If Easter coincided with a sunnier spring season this was a great way to start the day and later enjoy a walk in the fields or woods, along with all the Germans who love walking or rambling.

I always  wondered why a Rabbit brought the eggs until I read that it wasn´t always a Rabbit. Other regions had other animals bringing the eggs. And Eggs are brought because they are symbols of the new life every spring brings, a symbol which was already celebrated in ancient times by Egyptians and Persians.

I wonder if the pre-school Educators of those times made a call for empty egg shells.

Happy Easter.



Filed under Germany

Easter is here – Frohe Ostern

“Don’t ask me about our traditions for Easter”, I grumbled when I met
Francesca. “I’m still angry”.

A few hours ago I had had the annual Easter-present discussion with
my son.
” As my Easter-present I want …” he started.

I intercepted immediately “We don’t do Easter-presents”.

“But …(fill in the name of his friend who gets one) always….”

My son has friends for all situations. The friend that goes to bed
late at night, the friend who gets icecream every day, the friend who
is allowed to play Nintendo ad libidum, the friend who doesn’t go to school when
Rhamadan ends. Why doesn’t he mention the friend who doesn’t get
sweets for six weeks during Lent. 

Traditionally, for my mother, Easter was the day summer started. Therefore, after Easter, we could get rid of the ugly, scratching handknitted woollen knickers we had to wear in winter. As a child, I never really understood the logics behind: sometimes Easter was early in March and our egg hunt took place in deep snow. Sometimes Easter was late in late April and we could have fried the eggs on the hot tarmac. Only as an adult, at last,  I came to understand what these

traditions are for: to reduce the amount of daily discussion on how things are done
from 100 to 10.

As I’m writing this I listen to the radio: “What do you eat on Good
Friday?” the reporter asks random people on the high street.
Rollbraten-rolled beef,” they say, or ” we barbecue”. My ex-catholic
soul is shocked. I can’t even remember what we ate on Good Friday,
probably nothing, as in catholic tradition, the last day of Lent should be the day of
strictest fasting. Instead, I went to church twice: to the catholic
mass with my father, to the protestant service with my mother. Both
were equally long and tedious. I accepted this as my part of the
seasonal suffering, and looked forward to  Easter Sunday.

This joyful day always started with two hardboiled, hand-dyed eggs and an Osterzopf, a sweet cake made of yeast dough. We
children got an Osternest, an Easter nest, filled with sugar-,
fondants- and chocolate eggs. Then we went to church – a pleasure this
time. The choir greeted us with a powerfull Christ ist erstanden,
the priest wore his golden cloth, the mass servants swang heavy
incense burners, and we children felt that we were once again allowed
to laugh and play.

Later, the egg hunt took place in my uncles´garden, where he had to hide 25 eggs
for the pack of kids in our extended family. During the search, he
always managed to let fall a few extra sugar eggs that sprinkled the
grass like the a Haensel-und-Gretel-trail.

In the evenings, we gathered in front of the TV to watch the “Passion
of Christ”, a three-evening-in-a-row miniseries. And on Easter Sunday, we equally fascinatedly watched the Pope saying “Urbi and Orbi”.

Today, roasted lamb for dinner has become part of the Easter
tradition. Way back in my childhood, sheep were extremely rare in Germany. They
existed only theoretically, as part of a going-to-sleep ritual:
Schäfchenzaehlen-counting imaginary sheep jumping over a fence – one,
two, three …

My first real sheep I saw when I was 21 and worked on a sheep farm in
New South Wales. The other farm hands soon learnt not to trust me with
the mustering: counting sheep after sheep jumping through the gate –
one, two, three….

But this is another story.



Filed under Germany, World