Easter is the most important celebration for Christians. But beyond church services, tourists can also discover the colorful local customs and traditions while visiting the country.
A region particularly rich in Easter traditions is Upper Lusatia, in eastern Germany, which is home to the Sorbs, a West Slavic minority. A highlight in their traditions is the Easter ride between Kamenz and Bautzen. According to ancient folklore, nine processions of Catholic men wearing a top hat and a tailcoat came riding on decorated horses, proclaiming the resurrection of Christ in the neighboring towns. This year, tens of thousands of visitors are once again expected for the event.
Easter bonfires are also common in several German regions. In each community, people gather around a large fire to eat and drink together and welcome the arrival of spring. These bonfires also have a religious meaning. At the Easter Vigil, a candle is lit from an Easter fire in front of the church. The flame is then carried into the dark church. It serves as a symbol for the light of Christ. Gradually, everyone goes into the church holding such a candle.
In the town of Hallenberg in the state of Sauerland, drums and whistles go crazy in the early hours on Easter Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Just like the bonfires, the loud tradition of the "Hallenberger Rappelnacht" probably has a pagan origin. It is thought to have been a way to get rid of demons and winter spirits at the end of the cold season.
eg/ej (epd, kna)