When I was a child, Easter used to be not only a religious holiday but also the holiday that rang in springtime, finally. After all that cold weather and snow, the time around Easter reminded us that winter was not here to stay for good after all. Looking out into our garden I felt happiness and excitement seeing all the different little color spots of flowers stubbornly pushing their way through a tough soil that was still hard from a long winter time. Yellow and purple ‘Krokus’ (crocus), together with ‘Schneegloeckchen’ (snowdrop flower) and yellow ‘Narcissen’ (Daffodils), that even carried so rightfully the other name “Osterglocke” (Easterbell). Among the sparse young fresh grass peeking out here and there, these delightful little color dots were a refreshing sight, and offered the perfect back drop for a fun Easter egg hunt early on Easter Sunday morning.
Leading up to Easter it is tradition in Germany to create your own variety of Easter eggs and decorate a bunch of ‘Palmkaetzchen’ branches (branches of pussy willow) with these as ornaments. After an early morning egg hunt, Easter Sunday often started out with a church visit where, especially in Southern Germany, a sampler of the foods , later enjoyed during the Easter Sunday breakfast, got blessed by the priest during mass. In the evening the family gathered for the “Osterbraten” , which at my home traditionally was the roast of a lamb shank with delicious deserts to follow.
A beloved specialty during Easter is by the way the Easter bread, called ‘Osterstriezel’ or ‘Osterfladen’ - depending on where one lives, in the north or south of Germany. Should you like to try baking one, here is a recipe: