Montag, 6. April 2015

Strange German Holidays, #4 - Easter

It's been a while since I got a post out in this series, but there hasn't really been a holiday to talk about since February. I'm guessing Easter doesn't really count as a 'strange' holiday as well - it should be pretty much the same in each country that's dominantly Christian - but I bet there are some slight differences in how it's celebrated, so I'm going to talk about it anyways.

In Germany, Easter is an extra long weekend - both Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. The term 'Good Friday', by the way, confused me quite a bit when I first heard it some weeks ago, I don't really get what's so 'good' about the day - for me, it's a rather sad occasion, and the German word, 'Karfreitag', uses the medieval German word 'Kara' which translates to mourning and to be sad, so we have more of a Sad Friday here. Karfreitag is also what we call a 'silent holiday' - that means that activities that go against the somber occasion, like public events, dancing in clubs, and even some movies in TV or the cinema, are prohibited. Lots of people, especially younger ones, are complaining about that to no end, but I don't quite get it - even if you yourself do not believe in that whole Christian Easter story, the people that do are the reason why you get the day off work after all - can't people enjoy one day without dancing and getting wasted at clubs?

For practicing Christians, especially Catholics, Karfreitag is a strict fasting day (which is should be anyway because it's still part of lent), so no meat is allowed - although lots of peole, including my (non-catholic) family, don't really do that anymore. Another catholic practice I know of and that I find rather cute is that they don't use their church bells from Karfreitag to Easter Sunday. Instead, children using rattles call people to mass, and it's said that 'the bells fly to Rome for Easter'.

There's a great mass on Easter Sunday morning, of course, but for some years now I've only been to church for the Easter night celebration on Saturday evening - I really like the atmosphere of that, it starts with the church all dark, and in the second half the Easter light is brought in and the church lit with candles; it's very beautiful.

Now appart from the church customs, which should be pretty much the same everywhere, there are also some other things people do for easter. Of course there's the dyeing eggs and the big egghunt for children which the holiday is famous for, but one other thing I really like is the practice of decorating Easter bushes and bouquets. People will hang eggs (traditionally painted blown out egg shells, but nowadays most people will use plastic) and other ornaments either on a bush in their garden or on a bouquet in their homes. For the bouquet, we traditionally used branches of pussy willow, but I think that regionally differs as well. I kind of wanted to make my own Easter bouquet this year, but stuff kept getting in the way and we weren't home for most of the holidays anyways.


As for food, there's all kinds of eggs and chocolate of course, but also famous is the Easter Lamb - a biscuit cake baked in the form of a lamb. Lot's of people will do great brunches on Easter Sunday morning, and for my family it's kind of an tradition to make eggs in mustard sauce sometime in the week after - to use up all of the left over colored eggs!



Kommentare:

  1. Love your bush with eggs in the garden, so nice. I use to hang colored egg on a bunch of branches in the dining room (as seen in Hunsrück friend house). Amitiés xxx

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    1. Sadly that's not our own bush, but maybe I should take a picture of that as well! Yours sounds like fun as well :)

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  2. This is why I enjoy reading these bits. They're very informative. You missy, have been super busy. I just caught up on all your blogging and whew. I had sent you a happy birthday on deviantart *derp* I should have did it here. I'm glad to see Carla's blog was somewhere, too! Have a great week.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it :) I've been neglecting dA a bit recently, maybe catching up on that would make for a nice weekend project...

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  3. Interesting story Leonore.

    Linda

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  4. Lovely Easter ideas, just love that lamb - too good to eat.

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    1. The lambs are cute, but pretty yummy as well, so I usually end up eating them, haha :D

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  5. I enjoyed reading about your Easter celebrations. Since my nieces have been old enough, my Mum does an egg hunt in her back garden, hiding coloured plastic eggs for them to find, and some chocolate ones as well. They have a basket each to collect the eggs in and then count up how many they found afterwards.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! We do the egg hunt part as well (or have when I was younger), mostly hiding sweets, colored eggs and some small toys. I just thought it was kind of 'universal' for Easter, so I didn't mention it further :)

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  6. Love these holiday blogs. We've only just started to see the decorated trees/bushes here, now I know where that came from,

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! How fun that those easter bushes are showing up in Canada as well now! :D

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  7. How fun! There are many differences in how things are done in Germany compared to here. I believe the closest church that does things this way is the Russian Orthodox church that I used to live across the street from. Right across the street from that church is the Catholic church and it seems they only stick to the basics there. I miss the bell of the little Orthodox church on Sundays! The priest would stand outside regardless of weather and hand ring the little bell outside of the doorway.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, I'm thinking I might have to decorate a blown out egg for you for next year <3

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    1. That's funny, here, it's usually the Catholic Church that does the very elaborate and fancy masses (I know the Russion Orthodox are even more 'extreme', they sometimes have mass all night, like eight hours straight, but I don't know any of them here). Our (protestant) pastor borrowed the whole Easter Night thing from the Catcholics, cut some corners, and so we now have that cute, 45 minutes celebration, the Catholics take double the time, minimum!

      And yes please, I would love to get that egg!

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  8. Interesting post. I really like the decorated bushes. We have an egg hunt here but it is indoors with clues to each hiding place. My Dad always did one for us and now I do one for my son.

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    1. Oh I love that scavenger hunt style of game, I used to play that with my dad when I was young and later with my step sister :D

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