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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Gr√ľndonnerstag

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Gr√ľndonnerstag is the German name for Maundy Thursday.¬† It is the day before Karfreitag.

On this day, people go to Church to be freed of their sins in order to make a “clean” start for Easter, thus leading to one explanation of the name: the idea is that “green wood” is said to be fresh.

Another reason for the name may be that it is the end of the fasting season, and people used to eat mainly vegetables on this day.

It is a normal working day, although many people do take the day off to go away for a long weekend.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Osterfeuer

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

An Osterfeuer is a bonfire that is lit on the evening of Easter Saturday, usually in connection with a Church service.

Different parts of Germany associate the fire with different traditions.  In Bavaria it is also called the Judasfeuer and a straw figure, similar to a guy, is burnt upon the fire representing Judas Iscariot.  In Westfalia it is said to banish the winter.

Some churches have a candle-light service on Saturday evening rather than a fire.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Osterhase

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Osterhase is the name given in Germany to the Easter Bunny.

The tradition, which dates back to the 17th Century, says that the Osterhase decorates eggs at Easter and hides them in people’s gardens, although the practise became more common in the 20th Century.

Children go out into the garden on Easter Sunday and look for the eggs.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Die Auferstehung

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Die Auferstehung is the German word for the Resurrection – the event in the New Testament that is celebrated at Easter.

The term refers to the resurrection of Jesus three days after he was crucified and is the central theme in the Christian faith.

Indeed, it is quoted in the Glaubensbekenntnis (statement of faith) in Catholic Church services.

One of the relevant passages in the New Testament is Matthew 28:1-10, but the resurrection leads on to other events to be found in the Acts of the Apostles, such as appearing to two travellers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).

It is a complex topic, which the podcast can only introduce at this stage. More detailed information can be found in Wikipedia: English | German.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Ostern

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Easter is called Ostern in German. The Easter Week starts on Palm Sunday as is known as the Karwoche. Its climax starts on Maundy Thursday, known as Gr√ľndonnerstag and is followed by Karfreitag, Karsamstag, Ostersonntag and Ostermontag.

Traditionally people either go to Church on Saturday evening to a service called the Osterfeuer or on Sunday morning.

Also on Sunday morning children hunt for Easter Eggs, Ostereier, around the flat or in the garden.

Easter marks the end of Lent, so people eat meat again on Easter Sunday. They eat pork, beef or even rabbit and can start drinking alcohol again.

Karfreitag, Ostersonntag and Ostermontag are public holidays, so all of the shops are closed.

The date on which Easter falls varies from year to year, but can be calculated. It can be anytime between the 22nd March and 25th April. The exact fomula is known as “Computus” (see Wikipedia for more details).

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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