5 Ways to Say Happy Easter in German: German Easter Traditions in German-Speaking Countries

Easter, with its promise of renewal and joy, is one of the cornerstones of the Christian calendar. It remembers the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is celebrated with various traditions worldwide – and German-speaking countries are no exception. Natürlich German has a great video on German Easter Traditions:

In German-speaking countries, Easter is not only a religious holiday but also a cultural event full of rich traditions and festive gatherings – sometimes, even good parties! This post will guide you on how to say happy Easter in German and express Easter greetings while also introducing you to the common Easter traditions across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

1. Say Happy Easter in German: Frohe Ostern

Effortless Answers

When you want to wish someone a happy Easter in German, “Frohe Ostern” is your go-to phrase. It’s an all-encompassing expression for the season.

Here’s how you could use “Frohe Ostern” in conversation:

  • Markus: “Hallo Lena, ich wünsche dir und deiner Familie frohe Ostern!” (Markus: “Hello Lena, I wish you and your family a happy Easter!”)
  • Lena: “Danke, das ist sehr lieb. Ich hoffe, du hast auch schöne Feiertage!” (Lena: “Thank you, that’s very sweet. I hope you have a great holiday too!”)

To boost your confidence in pronouncing this phrase, remember it sounds roughly like ‘froh-he oss-tern’, or with phonetic symbols: [ˈfʁoːə ˈʔɔstɐn]

5 ways to say Happy Easter in German

German PhrasesEnglish Translation
Frohe OsternHappy Easter
Ich wünsche dir frohe Ostern!I wish you a Happy Easter!
Ein gesegnetes Osterfest!A blessed Easter festival!
Viel Freude bei der Eiersuche!Lots of fun during the egg hunt!
Frohe und besinnliche Ostertage!Happy and reflective Easter days!

These expressions, or as we like to call them chunks are essential building blocks of the language and they appear naturally in real-life conversations. Our German Conversation Based Chunking Guide is full of these amazing chunks that are so helpful, you won’t even need to memorize boring grammar rules. If you sign up now, you’ll also get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library where you’ll see tons of exercises to practice your German!

2. When is Easter celebrated in German-speaking countries? (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)

Similar to the other parts of the Christian world, Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, which means it can be anywhere from March 22 to April 25.

In German-speaking countries, Easter Week starts with Palm Sunday (“Palmsonntag“) and carries through Easter Sunday (“Ostersonntag“) to Easter Monday (“Ostermontag“), with Good Friday (“Karfreitag“) being a particularly solemn day. Let’s take a look into the customs and traditions associated with these special days. Los geht’s!

Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday to start the Holy Week)

  • Churches are decorated with palm branches; in regions where palms are not available, other greenery – like willow branches – are used.
  • Parishioners often process with these branches, and they are sometimes blessed by clergy during church services.

Karfreitag (A traditional Easter mourning day)

  • A day of mourning to remember the crucifixion of Jesus.
  • It is characterized by silence and reflection; in some areas, no music or bells are played, and dance events are prohibited – this is called a Tanzverbot.
  • Many attend church services that often include the reading of the Passion of Christ.
  • In some regions, there are street processions, plays, or reenactments of the crucifixion.
  • It is common to eat fish instead of meat as a form of abstinence.

Ostersonntag (Celebration and the search for Easter eggs)

  • Celebrations of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Families attend church services that are joyful and celebratory.
  • Traditional Easter meals are served: usually lamb and seasonal specialties.
  • The “Ostereiersuche” (Easter egg hunt) is a highlight for children, who search for eggs brought by the “Osterhase” (Easter Bunny).
happy easter in german with easter egg hunt traditions

Ostermontag (Eastery symbols celebrated in the nature)

  • Continuation of the festive Easter atmosphere.
  • Often includes family walks in the countryside, as nature is usually already blooming this time of the year.
  • In some communities – mainly in Southern Germany and Austria -, “Emmausgang“, walks or processions, are undertaken to commemorate the walk of the disciples to the village of Emmaus, where they recognized the risen Jesus.

3. What are some German Easter traditions in the German-speaking countries? (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)

Germany, Austria, and Switzerland share some traditions but also have their own unique customs:

  • Osterbrunnen in Germany: This tradition is the elaborate decoration (greenery, colorful eggs, ribbons) of public wells and fountains to celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring! It’s fairly common in the Franconian region of Bavaria.
  • The Ratschen in Austria: The custom takes place between Good Friday (“Karfreitag“) and Easter Sunday (“Ostersonntag“), mostly in rural areas. Since the church bells fall silent during this time to mark the solemnity of Christ’s passion, children called “Ratschenbuben” roam the streets with wooden clappers (Ratschen), which creates a rhythmic noise to call people to pray and to remind them of the church services. Following the “Ratschen”, children receive sweets, chocolates or a little bit of money for their job.
  • Zwänzgerle in Switzerland: Typically on Easter Monday. It’s a game where children toss coins at hard-boiled eggs. If the coin cracks the egg, they win that egg; if not, the coin is a prize for the egg’s owner.

Alternatively, if you want to learn more about Austrian German or Swiss German, you can – of course – do that on our site!

4. Easter Bunny, Egg Hunt and Other German Easter Vocabulary

The Easter Bunny (“Osterhase“) and the egg hunt (“Ostereiersuche“) have also become popular in these countries.

easter bunny wishing happy easter in german with a bucket of eggs

German Easter expressions

 

German ExpressionEnglish Translation
Frohe OsternHappy Easter
OstersonntagEaster Sunday
KarfreitagGood Friday
OsterhaseEaster Bunny
OstereiersucheEgg Hunt
OstereierEaster Eggs
PalmsonntagPalm Sunday
OstergottesdienstEaster Service
AuferstehungResurrection
ProzessionenProcessions
OstermontagEaster Monday
FastenzeitLent
OsternachtEaster Night
KreuzCross

To get fully immersed in the Germanic Easter experience, consider studying language chunks that are commonly used during the holiday. For example:

  • Andreas: “Wird der Osterhase viele Ostereier verstecken?” (Andreas: “Will the Easter bunny hide lots of Easter eggs?”)
  • Wilhelm: “Ja, und die Kinder können es kaum erwarten, mit der Ostereiersuche zu beginnen!” (Wilhelm: “Yes, and the children can hardly wait to start the Easter egg hunt!”)

We hope this guide helps you celebrate Easter in any German-speaking country you find yourself in. Immersing yourself in the language and local customs can deeply enhance your holiday experience. So, when you say “Frohe Ostern”, you’re not just wishing someone a Happy Easter; you’re connecting with a culture and its traditions.

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