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Easter Day in Germany

Easter Sunday (Ostersonntag) in Germany annually celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection after his crucifixion on Good Friday, according to the Christian Bible. People mark the day by attending special church services, giving gifts and sharing festive meals with family members.

Is Easter Day a Public Holiday?

Easter Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, April 21, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Germany.

Eggs and hares are among the symbols of Easter.

©iStockphoto.com/small_frog

What Do People Do?

Many people attend a special church service on Easter Sunday.  The church services generally have a celebratory mood and churches are decorated with a range of spring flowers. Some communities hold an Easter breakfast or lunch after the church service.

Many people prepare a festive breakfast, lunch or evening meal on Easter Sunday. Popular treats are: 

  • Fried, scrambled or boiled eggs.
  • Roast lamb.
  • Lamb stew.
  • Rich loaves of sweet bread decorated with frosting and candy eggs.
  • Cookies shaped like chicks, eggs or lambs.
  • Butter in the shape of a lamb.
  • Cakes baked in the shape of a hare or lamb.
  • Various salads.

Many people give and receive Easter eggs and Easter hares on Easter Sunday. Children are often told that the Easter hare brings and hides Easter eggs.  Many families, communities and businesses organize Easter egg hunts occur on Easter Sunday or Easter Monday. Many Easter eggs are made of chocolate or candy. Boiled eggs are painted or dyed with food coloring and decorative eggs are made of plastic, fabric or wood. 

People in some areas of Germany, particularly in northern parts, light Easter fires late in the evening of Holy Saturday. Some people stay up all night. They keep the Easter fires burning all night until dawn on Easter Sunday.

Public Life

Public life on Easter Sunday in Germany is generally very similar to that on other Sundays. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. However, some tourist stores may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open.

There are some restrictions on selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport services usually run to the normal Sunday timetable but there may be some local variations.

Background

Easter Sunday remembers the day Jesus Christ was resurrected, according to the New Testament in the Christian Bible. It is Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God. He was born around 7–2 BCE and died by crucifixion around 26–36 CE. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his death, according to the Bible. Easter today is celebrated in countries such as Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Symbols

Spring flowers, eggs, chickens, hares and lambs are important Easter symbols. They symbolize the natural world's rebirth after the darkness of winter and Jesus' resurrection after his crucifixion. Lambs also symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus, God's only son.

Germany is in the northern hemisphere so Easter fires are a useful way of getting rid of dead plant material from garden and farms before the growing season begins again. In the pre-Christian Germanic tradition, they also symbolize the return of life and growth in the spring. For Christians, they may symbolize the destruction of Jesus on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

About Easter Day in other countries

Read more about Easter Day.

Easter Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunApr 4Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2010SunApr 4Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2011SunApr 24Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2011SunApr 24Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2012SunApr 8Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2012SunApr 8Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2013SunMar 31Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2013SunMar 31Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2014SunApr 20Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2014SunApr 20Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2015SunApr 5Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2015SunApr 5Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2016SunMar 27Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2016SunMar 27Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2017SunApr 16Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2017SunApr 16Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2018SunApr 1Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2018SunApr 1Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2019SunApr 21Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2019SunApr 21Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg
2020SunApr 12Easter DaySilent DayAll except BB
2020SunApr 12Easter DayChristian, Common local holidayBrandenburg

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