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Easter
Major holiday before thisNew Year's Day
Major holiday after thisLabour Day

Easter 2019 and 2020

Easter is one of the most important and popular annual holidays in Germany. For Christians, the weekend-long festivities remember the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

YearDateDayHolidayStates
201919 AprFriGood Friday National
21 AprSunEaster Sunday BB
22 AprMonEaster Monday National
202010 AprFriGood Friday National
12 AprSunEaster Sunday BB
13 AprMonEaster Monday National
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In addition to attending special church services, people share festive meals and engage in several non-religious traditions as well. The name Easter is believed to have originated with Ostara, the ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn.

An Easter Tree in Saalfeld, Thuringia, Germany. Photo: Andreas Lehner, flickr.com/lehnin78

An Easter Tree in Saalfeld, Thuringia, Germany. Photo: Andreas Lehner, flickr.com/lehnin78

Several Easter decorations and traditions celebrated around the world, trace their history to the German pagan spring fertility festivals such as Fruhlingsfest. The Easter bunny was first mentioned in writings from the 16th century. In some areas, the bunny is replaced with a stork or fox. The first edible pastry bunnies appeared in Germany around 1800. Germans brought these traditions with them when they immigrated to other countries.

Children boil and paint eggs on Good Friday, The decorated eggs are then placed in a basket for the Easter bunny, or Osterhase, to hide around the house on the night before Easter. During the egg hunt, the children may also find chocolate eggs and bunnies as well as small presents. It is common for friends to exchange Easter eggs as gifts.

It is common for German homes to be decorated with painted eggs, clay bunnies and yellow daffodils as well as the Osterbaum, or Easter tree. The Easter tree, another centuries-old tradition, is made from the branches of pussy willows or other flowering bushes as well as small living trees or shrubs. The Osterbaum is decorated with hand-painted wooden eggs, garland and wreaths. It is designed to provide a festive atmosphere by bringing spring colours into the home.

Dating back centuries, many towns will sponsor an Ostermarkt, or Easter Market that starts a few weeks before Easter. Vendors sell chocolate eggs and bunnies, decorated eggs and spring ornaments. The Ostrbrunnen, or Easter fountain, is a tradition on the Franconia region of Germany. It celebrates the tradition of recognising the life-giving value of water.