Easter, as many of you know, is one of the most important holidays in Germany. The reason for this lies in its religious significance combined with its centuries-old regional and local traditions. In particular the German Easter traditions have created a wide variety of handcrafted, unique Easter decorations that are cherished by people across the globe.
Easter holidays are one of the most colorful times of the year. This is when the streets come alive with a multitude of handcrafted decorations, festive lights, fresh spring flowers and blossoming tree twigs.
Let’s have a closer look at the various types of decorative items:
- Easter Eggs:
Of course, the must-have decorative item is the Easter egg, and it comes in all shapes and sizes – as an ornament, part of an Easter wreath, as a table center piece or even window decoration. It is closely related to both Pagan as well as Christian traditions. The Easter egg is a symbol of fertility, which is celebrated during the time of Easter, but also marks the end of the month of Lent. Both these legends lend the Easter egg with a special symbolism and a certain level of spiritual significance. The Easter egg is decorated in a variety of ways, some of which are:
- Spray painted with different colors
- Handmade paper mache eggs
- Crocheted eggs with pearls, inlays and other intricate designs
- Eggs made out of clay and then decorated
Easter is also one where people host events such as the egg hunt and egg rolling competition.
- Handcrafted Easter Bunnies and Chicks:
These are the most popular options among both locals and tourists. Also called the Easter hare, it is one of the most famous decorative items available during this time. Legend has it that the Easter hare carries a bundle full of Easter eggs, sweet treats, candy and other toys for children the night before. Easter bunnies are available in almost every shop during this time and are painted with different motifs as well as decorated with colored paper, ribbons and bows.
- Easter Pyramids:
Easter pyramids are a specialty of the Erzgebirge region. The pyramids are usually made of wood and depict the different scenes from the Bible or regional tales and stories. Its origins date back to the Medieval Period, when evergreen twigs were hung into the ceiling of homes to protect from any evil of the darkness. Especially, in Northern and Eastern Europe, this was done by using the power of light. The pyramids became an extension of those customs, and a symbol of the Erzgebirge Christmas celebrations. Due to their popularity, the Christmas pyramids spread around the world. Now, they are even available with various electrical motors that allow the figurines to rotate in a tiered manner. The Erzgebirge manufacturing industry has discovered an even broader audience in recent years, and expanded its creative, handcrafted pyramids creations to Easter themes.
Some of the handcrafted pyramids are priced at high rates due to the craftsmanship involved and the obvious time consuming effort that goes into handcrafting each item.
- Easter Incense Smokers:
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that incense is one of the most fundamental elements to add atmosphere to any room. The Erzgebirge incense smokers are an invention of the locals in the Ore Mountains. The first reference to incense smokers was made in 1830. Based on the local tradition to burn incense during the cold winter months to create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere in their homes, the Ore mountain folks started adding turned wooden tops on top of the incense burner bases. In the beginning, they mostly featured figures from the local coal mining life. Soon it became a popular symbol of the Erzgebirge Christmas celebrations. Like the Erzgebirge Christmas pyramids, it has been expanded to Easter due to popularity and commercialization. Easter incense smokers feature mostly bunnies and chicks in all shapes and forms.
- Easter Figurines:
Perhaps one of the most loved parts of the Easter holiday decorations are the figurines. They range from animal designs of the bunny, chick, children and angels to compound figurines, and are made of a variety of different materials, e.g. wood, paper mache, glass, fabric and even egg shells. The best part of Easter figurines is their versatile nature. Since there is no hard and fast rule regarding the type of design or decoration, many manufacturers these days are expanding their business to explore vintage designs, minimalist artwork and other creative concepts.
- Easter Ornaments:
Of course, the first Easter ornament that comes to mind is the Easter egg and bunny, but there is more to it. Germany’s traditional decorative art manufacturers offer a wide variety of spring themes made of wood, glass, paper mache, pewter, egg shells, porcelain and even fabric. Many German manufacturers added an Easter line in addition to their already existing Christmas ornaments, such as Inge Glas, small businesses from the Ore and Harz Mountains, Black Forest and Bavaria. A little known fact is that the Sorbs (people of Sorbian region close to the Polish border) are known for their artfully painted Easter eggs collections.
When it comes to German Easter decorations, one of the crucial characteristics that define the body of decorative work is that of versatility combined with long-standing traditions and craftsmanship. Since Easter in Germany is celebrated on an inclusive scale with everyone being open to new ideas and concepts, the decorative items that are part of every household and street corner reflect novel as well as traditional ideas. As long as the symbolism of the festival is maintained, the material, design and structure of decorative items are left open to the preference of the consumer.