Happy Easter Monday, Ostermontag! I’m bilingual today.
You see, I always like to break out my German when: a) I am in Germany and b) when my in-laws are visiting. Today’s cause for the occasion? Oma & Opa (aka my in-laws, aka Jan’s parents, aka Isolde & Frank for goodness sake) are here!
We are enjoying a nice spring (especially today – hello 70’s and sun!) visit with them. This year we had the good fortune of having them here over Easter, a holiday we normally do not get to celebrate with them. I’ve spent many a Christmases in Germany learning new traditions, eating new food, and experiencing the holiday “their” way that it’s practically become second nature.
This Easter I’ve learned new German traditions for this holiday that will undoubtedly become a part of our annual celebration in the Petrich household. Easter is still Easter to me when it comes to “what it’s all about,” but it’s always fun to learn new traditions and ways to celebrate, especially with two young children. I know Easter from my own childhood, but getting to relive it with old and new traditions through the eyes of my own children is proving to be quite joyous.
First, the old… I grew up believing in the Easter Bunny. The way I knew it, the Easter Bunny came to your house the night before Easter and hid your Easter basket filled with goods (mostly candy) that you woke up the next morning to find. I’ll never forget the year mine was hidden in the dryer! Eating chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and Peeps were always a source of fun — all before breakfast! Then when we were all good and sugared up we usually went to church on Easter Sunday. Sure, there were egg hunts leading up to Easter Sunday and sometimes on the actual day, but I think the commercialization of the holiday has really taken off since my youth. Or maybe it’s just now that I have kids it seems more at the forefront of my vision. Lance is only two and he participated in three egg hunts this year!
Now for the new… what new German traditions have I learned about? For one, Good Friday (Karfreitag) and Easter Monday (Ostermontag) are national holiday’s in Germany. Four day weekends for all! Also, they decorate their trees with real eggs (drained with a needle and painted pretty). This year, Opa brought in some tree branches from the yard and he and Lance decorated it together. The ornament has become a fixture in our house this past week and I’m definitely planning to continue the trend next year. No plastic ornamental eggs here! Lastly, the Easter Bunny hides the contents of your basket in the yard and you are to find and collect them yourself. Items such as books, small toys, and candy are all what you might expect to find.
I realize there are some gross generalizations in this post. After all I’m only making observations between one household in the USA and one household in Germany. Maybe how we celebrate Easter across cultures is not so different. I’m sure there are people in the USA who decorate trees with real eggs and I’m sure there are people in Germany who hide Easter baskets inside to be found Easter morning (maybe?). There’s certainly no right or wrong way in my book. Well, except for maybe the four day weekend part. The Germans, and Europeans in general, definitely have it right there. But for me, it’s just been fun remembering my childhood, learning about my husband’s through his parents, and incorporating a little bit of both for my own children on Easter — topped with grandparents (Großeltern if you will recall) this year.
Happy Easter. Frohe Ostern.
He is Risen Indeed!
The Banter Lady