Easter is one of the favorite holidays in the Christian calendar and is celebrated vibrantly just like the Christmas. Like every other western country, Germany also celebrates this special day with lots of energy and spreads tons of happiness among its citizens. On this occasion, everyone takes an active part in decorating their houses with Easter eggs, bunnies, chicks, lambs as well as fresh spring flowers and twigs. People also decorate their gardens and outer premises of their houses with the same to welcome spring after the long chilly months of winter and spread the joy of the occasion.
The German word “Ostern” for Easter refers to the east and sunrise. Besides the century-old church traditions, Easter is simply celebrated to welcome the spring and the beginning of the agricultural year. Although chocolate bunnies and decorated Easter eggs are the main attraction of this holiday, delicious traditional and trendy foods set in the actual taste of the festive mood.
Traditional German Easter foods
No doubt, Easter means outsized bunnies bearing Easter basket full of good stuffs to children. However, the perfect holiday for adults is to put on their best spring outfits and enjoy dinner with family, friends as well as relatives. For many, this also includes a somber religious celebration, especially in the catholic regions of Germany.
Did you actually know that many food traditions are also based on religious beliefs?
On this day, it is customary to plug green herbs and leafy vegetables and to prepare dishes using them. This is based on the last supper that Jesus celebrates with his followers before his death.
Some families take this tradition so far that they prepare spinach or nettle potato dumplings or German cottage cheese with fresh herbs such as nettles, chives, parsley etc. Even green pancakes can be served.
Its tradition as a day of grieving and fasting originated a long time ago, in the 2nd century. It’s considered a day of calm and quietness. For example, in the country people were not permitted to visit the pub. Only the most necessary work was taken care of, such as feeding the livestock. Kids were prohibited from noisy and fun play.
According to Christian traditions, many people eat fish on this holiday instead of meat. A common fish on that day was salted and dried cod or stockfish.
This is the last day of the Protestant fasting period. This means: No large meals yet! Rather simple traditional meals. For example, soups, salads with bread and a wide variety of baked goods such as the famous Easter lamb.
Easter Sunday (Ostersonntag)
This day marks the culmination of the Easter holidays, the fasting period is over and traditionally Germans eat large, hearty meals with sweet desserts. According to Jewish and Catholic traditions, lamb is the preferred choice of meat.
Many Germans still serve traditional Easter dishes. However, since tastes vary, there are many other popular dishes served on German tables.
Popular mouth-watering, hearty German Easter foods today:
- Leek Soup
- Potato Dumplings
- Baked Fish au Gratin
- Roasted Lamb
- Beef Roulades
- Dishes with Eggs
- Sweet Yeast Bread & Rolls
- Easter Lamb
- Milk Croissants
- Cheese Cake
One can prepare a full course dinner out of the above mentioned traditional dishes and surprise their family and friends as these recipes are not only easy, but are fun to cook with the whole family and friends. From appetizer to desserts, each and every traditional German Easter food is enjoyed throughout the country and holds the most importance throughout the Easter holiday, right after the Easter itself.
The Sweet Easter Treats
Buns have always been a crucial part of German Easter food menu, perhaps from the very beginning. A dinner course without a piece of bread is just not the tradition to follow on Easter. Various cakes of different shapes and sizes are home-baked.
Easter Lamb: Is often the center piece of the Easter brunch or dinner. It’s made of either sponge mixture or biscuit dough and has the shape of a lamb. For kids, this is the highlight at the Easter table!
Easter Kugelhopf (Gugelhupf): The golden coffee cake with a strong buttery flavor is a German delicacy and gets its name from the pan it is baked in.
Sweet Yeast Easter Bread: Easter bread made from sweet yeast dough with raisins, candied lemon peel and almonds etc. It symbolizes a miter. It is large enough to feed the whole family or a small crowd on Easter.
Typical Easter Meat Delicacies
The Easter dinner or lunch is incomplete without a dish of meat, or fish. Although, many prepare fish, pork or beef dishes, most families enjoy their lunch with a lamb preparation, cooked to perfection. Some of the popular and favorite German Easter foods are:
Roasted Easter lamb: Very typical as a hearty German Easter food. Usually seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme and some lemon and roasted in the oven. Often it is served with seamed potatoes and spinach or green beans on the side. Very yummy!
Roasted rabbit: Delicious with its lean, moist meat! This can be an entire rabbit or just the thighs. Sometimes it’s marinated in butter milk and garlic before preparation. It’s either roasted in the oven or on the stove. Additional herbs for seasoning include leek, celery, carrots and onions. Often served with green beans and steamed potatoes.
“Vogelnester” (bird nests): This dish is actually a variation of the German roulades. However, instead of pickles, slices of egg and bacon are used as filling beside the typical items such as onion, mustard, salt, pepper and carrot slices. Usually it’s served with potato dumplings and red cabbage.
Those and other delicacies are an important part for any holiday and Easter. In that sense, Germans are no exception. Although various types of confectionaries and desserts are prepared on this occasion, chocolate is the most preferred flavor among all. Traditional German Easter food is what makes the full family have a great time together on a dinner and pray for a bright future.