There are many Easter traditions in the Oberpfalz region
by Renate Gradl
Grafenwoehr. Why are there Easter rabbits? Why is there a fire in front of the church? And what is “egg picking” all about? Although we do not get as many presents at Easter as we get at Christmas, Easter is the most important celebration for Christians during the course of the year. The Oberpfalz region features a lot of Easter traditions.
Easter, the most important catholic celebration of the year, remembers the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday, or rather during the night of Easter. During that night, Christians take dark bread with raw or cooked ham, salt, Easter bread, Easter lambs and eggs, of course, into church which are consecrated during the church service and make up the Easter breakfast.
The Easter candle with lamb, victory flag, cross and cicatrices is a typical symbol of Easter, just like the Easter fire that is ignited during the Easter night and passed on. It is a symbol of the love of God that is dispersed. After the church service, a large fire is ignited in front of the church. In earlier days, wooden sticks were held into the fire to later use them to ignite the fire in the oven at home.
It’s a family tradition to color and stylishly and artfully decorate the white or brown eggs bought in the super market. There are funny traditions regarding the eggs, one of which is the so-called “egg picking.” The combatants duel each other with the tops of their hardboiled eggs. The combatant whose egg survives the fight without breaking, wins.
The Easter lamb is a symbol of defenselessness and often found in Easter baskets, home-baked by the women. There are also Easter wreaths with an egg in the center. “The Easter rabbit which originally is not a Christian symbol was first mentioned in 1682- It did not become popular until the 20th century because it sells so well,” explains Professor Dr. Hermann Kirchhoff in one of his books. Kids get an Easter rabbit made of chocolate and many sweet Easter eggs which are put in an Easter nest which is hidden so the kids have to search for it. There are always screams of joy when the girls and boys find the nests.
Before Easter, decorated Easter fountains can be admired in the Oberpfalz and in Franconia. In Grafenwoehr, the Vintage Fountain at the bottom of the Annaberg mountain is decorated every year with more than 3,000 Easter eggs. It is especially fascinating to look at in the dark when it is illuminated.
Easter Wreath Recipe:
75 g curd cheese, 3 table spoons milk, 3 table spoons oil, 40 g sugar,
1 package vanilla sugar, a little bit of salt, 150 g wheat flour, a half a package of baking powder.
Knead the dough and form three same-length strands of dough. Braid it and form a wreath with it. Baker it at 150 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
Easter Lamb Recipe:
75 g butter, 100 g sugar, 1 package of vanilla sugar, 2 eggs, 10 drops rum flavor, a little bit of salt, 100 g wheat flour, 25 g cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Mix all ingredients, fill them in a lamb-shaped cake pan and bake it at 175 degrees Celsius for 35 to 45 minutes.
Photo Credit: Floydine – stock.adobe.com; Renate Gradl