Easter For Members

How to celebrate Easter 2024 in Germany

Shannon Chaffers
Shannon Chaffers
How to celebrate Easter 2024 in Germany
Painted Easter eggs attached to an Easter fountain. In parts of Germany, Easter fountains are decorated with painted eggs and garlands of fir branches at the weekend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Nicolas Armer

Easter weekend has arrived. Here's an overview of some of Germany's most significant Ostern traditions - and where and how you can partake.


Easter weekend in Germany starts on Friday, March 29th and marks one of the country’s major holidays. The much-anticipated four-day holiday weekend brings with it many events and customs you can take part in over the coming days and weeks. 

Easter markets

Outdoor Easter markets pop up in many German cities in the days and weeks leading up to Ostern. Crowds drawn in by the warm weather can peruse stalls stacked with Easter decorations like painted eggs, or check out market mainstays like homemade goods and ceramic products. Food and drink are also on offer, and some markets even have amusement rides. 


With nearly 100 market stalls, one of the biggest Easter markets takes place in Nuremberg. The market specialises in tableware and household products, which it is also called the “Häferlesmarkt” -- “Häferle” being a German word for a ceramic mug. 

In Berlin, an Easter Market will take place for the second time at Potsdamer Platz in 2024. Among the market stalls, you can also find live music and Lusatian artists from the Easter Egg Museum Sabrodt demonstrating how Easter eggs are dyed in the Sorbian tradition, as was practised in Brandenburg and Saxony.  

Easter egg hunts

Speaking of eggs, perhaps one of Germany’s most well-known Easter traditions is the Easter egg hunt. On Easter Sunday, kids spend the morning looking for eggs containing special treats hidden by the Easter bunny. And while Easter is a Christian holiday, this custom, along with the word “Easter” itself may have Pagan origins.

READ ALSO: The very German origins of the Easter Bunny

Easter eggs hang from a tree in Schmilka, Saxony.

Easter eggs hang from a tree in Schmilka, Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

Some scholars have traced the Easter bunny back to Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring whose symbol was a rabbit. Overtime, they have argued, the Pagan spring festival that celebrated the goddess became assimilated into the Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection, with the bunny as its symbol. 


Weimar has a particular Easter egg hunt tradition connected to famous poet and resident Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe was said to invite his children, grandchildren and children of his friends to his garden on the Thursday before Easter to look for eggs he had hidden. 

The city continues the tradition today as it organizes an egg hunt in the park of Goethe’s former residence on the Thursday before Easter.

A modern iteration of an Easter egg hunt will take place this year at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo. Easter eggs, bunnies and chicks made of wood are hidden in various enclosures throughout the zoo.

Easter bonfires

Another Easter tradition that speaks to the holiday’s Pagan origins are the Osterfeuer (Easter bonfires). In pagan tradition, lighting bonfires was meant to celebrate the end of winter, and this practice has since been incorporated into Easter celebrations. In the days leading up to Easter, locals will gather branches and twigs to build a bonfire. 

easter bonfire

People gather around an Osterfeuer in Bochum. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Caroline Seidel

The bonfire is typically lit on the Sunday, as the community gathers around to enjoy food and drink under the fiery glow. This practice is especially popular in northern Germany, with Hamburg being a particularly famous site for Osterfeuer

The small town of Lügde in North Rhine-Westphalia also has a fire-themed tradition called the Osterräderlauf (Easter wheel run). On Easter Sunday, residents roll burning wheels of oak and straw down the hillside.  

READ ALSO: 10 ways to celebrate Easter in Germany like a local

Easter riding

Along with their famous eggs, another Easter tradition practiced primarily by the Sorb community is Osterreiten. On Easter, hundreds of men from this minority community in northeast Germany ride horses in procession to announce Jesus’ return to life.

Sorbian Easter riders

Traditionally dressed Sorbian Easter riders. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

The tradition goes back at least six centuries. The riders, dressed in black suits with white shirts and black top hats, sing hymns as they ride past crowds of onlookers, which include Sorb women in traditional dress, as well as other curious spectators gathered to witness the occasion. 

Easter fountains

While bonfires are typically associated with northern Germany, southern Germany is famous for its Osterbrunnen (Easter fountains).

The tradition started in northern Bavaria and north-eastern Baden-Württemberg in the early 1900s, before spreading to other parts of Germany in the 1980s. Local residents decorate fountains in public squares by arranging green leaves into a crown and adorning them with colourful Easter eggs.

Today, these fountains have become a major tourist attraction. The town of Bieberbach in Bavaria is particularly famous: its decorations have won Guinness World records and attract over 30,000 tourists each year.



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