It’s always fun to talk about the way holidays are celebrated in different countries. This post is dedicated to the Easter holiday. I doubt that we did all the available or expected Easter activities, so I can’t say with authority that this is the way that Franconians celebrate Easter, but I can share with you some of the traditions that make it a special season.
The most notable tradition in our region is the tradition of decorating all the wells and fountains in the town with greens and hand-painted Easter eggs. This is a Franconian specialty, started in the Franconian-Switzerland (Fränkische Schweiz–called so because it’s filled with hills and streams and great places for hiking, climbing and enjoying the outdoors.) Lucky for us, the Fränkische Schweiz is just a few miles away! The tradition of decorating the wells and fountains dates back to about 1909 and seems to be related to the cleaning of the wells each spring. The tradition was halted during WWII but re-emerged in Nuremburg after the war ended. Decorating the town fountains is a celebration of water, fertility(hence eggs) and springtime . Some of the fountains are incredible tourist attractions, with tour buses filling the tiny towns to see them. The tourist buro in Forchheim has a tour bus available that takes groups a day-long trip to see all the fountains in the region.
Forchheim has it’s own easter fountains as well:
And what is interesting is that they don’t just decorate the main well in the square, as you go into the smaller streets you’ll see tiny fountains and wells decorated too.
On easter morning we got up early and went to Bieberbach to see its famous Easter fountain. It did not disappoint. All the eggs were hand-painted and because we were early, there weren’t many people around yet. It was a beautiful, sunshiny Easter sunday, albeit cold, but perfect for admiring fountains.
For our own family easter celebration we had Jola and Heinz over for Easter lunch. This was exciting because Jola is back from the rehab and fit as a fiddle! This was our first time cooking together in a few weeks AND we were cooking at our house instead of Jola’s. We made Krenfleisch again, but we shook it up, of course.
Jola purchased two different cuts of meat, from two different stores. They were both Tafelspitz, the cut meant for meals like Krenfleisch but one was twice as expensive as the other. The goal of the taste test was to figure out whether it was worth paying double the money or not.
Survey said: “No!” The cheaper meat was better. What a refreshing Easter surprise. For a little while we watched the Pope on tv and all the festivities in Rome and for once we weren’t jealous of Italy’s weather. While we were having perfect sunny skies, they had Easter rain.
For a special dessert I made little cakes baked inside egg shells. This required emptying the shells first, then putting the cake batter inside and baking it. I share this with you because I think it’s important to sometimes share when Pinterest projects don’t go perfectly. I dyed the eggs and decorated them before I inserted the cake batter and sadly when I baked them, the batter overflowed covering my cute handy work. Only Jola’s “J” was still recognizeable after baking. They were tasty (luckily) but not that cute to look at, especially for all the work of painting them. I made cupcakes too just in case the eggs did not work out. I used a lemon sour cream cake recipe and found that the lemon butter cream icing actually overwhelmed them. The cake alone was actually moist and flavorful and probably only needed to be topped with powdered sugar.
We did not wear special Easter clothes or go to church on Easter (gasp!) I think Easter church is a big deal for families here, just like in the US, but I can’t say for sure. Thorsten says Easter is not as big as Christmas for churchgoers–maybe we’ll find out next year.
So there you have it–Easter in Franconia 2015.