MUNICH — (MunichNOW Life) — The Easter bunny, Sunday morning Easter egg hunts, and chocolate bunnies are all part of the popular Bavarian Easter spring holiday tradition. Along with these more modern customs, there are also historical traditions. While not as well-known, these traditions are still alive in many parts of Bavaria.
Silent churches on Gründonnerstag
On Gründonnerstag church bells are not rung as a sign of mourning and they remain silent for the “Holy Three Days” (Triduum Sacrum) until Easter Sunday when the faithful are called to liturgy. There is a saying that “The bells fly to Rome”.
Oarscheibn is a popular tradition for many families, especially in Chiemgau. This is a game that is played on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. How it works: Two rakes are set side by side, then you let the (boiled) eggs roll down the channel created by the two rakes. A penny is then placed on the first egg that lands in the grass. The next player must now try to knock off the coin with his own egg. This must be done using the two rakes. If successful, the money belongs to the second player.
A famous Bavarian Easter tradition that has survived to this day is the Speisenweihe. During liturgy on Easter Sunday, coloured eggs, Easter ham, bread, salt, horseradish sauce and Osterlamm (a lamb shaped biscuit cake) are consecrated in the church. The egg is the most important symbol of Easter.
It is symbol for Jesus, who broke through death, just like a chick breaks through the shell. The Osterlamm stands for sacrifice, and is symbolic of Jesus who gave his life for humanity. After the Easter breakfast, the eggshells are buried in the fields and in the gardens, to bring blessing and fertility for the harvest.
The Easter Fire
The fire does have an important position in Christian belief, such as when God appears in the burning bush and proclaims the Ten Commandments. The Easter custom of the Easter fire, however, emerged from a pagan custom: After the cold winter, the sun should be drawn toward ground in the spring by the fire to warm the earth and enable the harvest.
One of the biggest and most beautiful horse pilgrimages in Bavaria is the Georgiritt in the Chiemgau city of Traunstein. On Easter Monday festively decorated horses and carriages, historical groups and musical bands journey in a long procession from the square up to the Ettendorfer Kircherl. Here the participants will be blessed, which is a very old tradition. The annual major event on Easter Monday is a mixture of a colourful pageant and commitment to the Christian faith.