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South Africans in Germany

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Seasonal

Easter in Germany is an joyous holiday that is celebrated with great enthusiasm and a range of traditions that have been passed down through generations. Colourful Easter eggs, traditional bonfires, and a wide variety of delicious foods are just a small part of what makes this festive occasion so special. Whether it’s by decorating Easter trees or baking Easter cakes, Germans embrace this holiday with open arms. Additionally, the holiday is marked by a plethora of events and activities, such as Easter markets, parades, and church services.

During the Easter season in Germany, streets and homes are decorated with colourful ornaments, most notably with decorated eggs, symbolizing new life and resurrection. German craftsman producing and selling painted Easter eggs is a common sight in many German towns and villages.

German churches hold special services during holy week and on Easter Sunday. Many church choirs will perform oratorios of Johann Sebastian Bach during their Easter service. Protestant churches usually hold sunrise services on Easter Sunday as an acknowledgement of the Resurrection. 

What is celebrated during Easter

Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. According to Christian belief, Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose again on Easter Sunday. For Christianity, Easter is the most important festival of the year.
Easter Sunday is actually the culmination of a series of traditional observations that start with Karneval or Fasching and the following Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). After that, the holidays (“holy days”) of Palm Sunday and Good Friday lead up to Easter.

Important dates for 2024

HolidayDateInformation
Palm Sunday / Palmsonntag2024-03-24The Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates
Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is also the start of the Holy week or Karwoche
Maudy Thursday / Gründonnerstag2024-03-28Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the day during Holy Week that commemorates the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels
Good Friday / Karfreitag2024-03-29Karfreitag
Karsamstag2024-03-30
More info
Easter Sunday / Ostersonntag2024-03-31Ostersonntag
Easter Monday2014-04-01

Other Easter Foods

Delicious Hefezopf, Hefekranz and  Easter bread (das Osterbrot) in most bakeries. Made with yeast dough, raisins and almonds. Eaten with butter. There is some great recipes available on Chefkoch.

The closest you find to Hot Cross buns are Rosinenbrotchen
Brightly coloured boiled eggs and of course beautiful chocolate easter eggs can be bought at bakeries.

South African Easter Recipes

Easter Recipes

Here is a collection of Traditional South African Easter Recipes. To submit your own recipes to be published on this website, please use this form Roast

Food and Traditions

Food, particularly bread, is an important part of Easter in Germany. Traditional German bakeries offer Easter-inspired culinary delights such as sweet Easter bread, known as Osterbrot. Many regions have their own distinct Easter dishes, for instance, green sauce usually served with boiled eggs is a delicacy typical for the state of Hessen during the Easter period.

Here is a list of food traditionally eaten in Germany over the Easter period, as well as the traditions observed

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and also the start of the holy week or Karwoche. 
Processions with people carrying palm branches or symbolic bouquets (Palmbuschen) and singing hymns.   
Palmbuschen are made from 7 evergreen plants 

Gründonnerstag:
Gründonnerstag sounds like green Thursday although it is derived from the old German word greinen, which means crying. Thus many people celebrate Maudy Thursday by eating green dishes, such as the following:
– Seven herb soup / Sieben Kräutersuppe
– Chervil soup / Kerbelsuppe
– Eggs in green sauce / Eier in grüner Sauce

Karfreitag:
All Church bells are silent on Good Friday and many Families attend church services.
Many towns, such as Bensheim will host processions depicting the events of Good Friday.
Dancing is not allowed on Good Friday, neither are weddings. The shops are closed.
It is a tradition to eat fish at dinner with your family.
– Fish cakes with green sauce / Fishfrikadellen mit grüner Sauce

Ostersamstag:
In Northern Germany, people light Easter fires (das Osterfeuer) as a symbol of light in the darkness.
These fires are sometimes lit on Good Friday or Easter Sunday.

Ostersonntag:
Families come together to celebrate. They may go to church together and then have a big brunch or a festive dinner.
The main dish is often lamb.
Children hunt for Easter eggs.

– Colorful boiled eggs / Bunte Frühstückseier – served with Black Forest ham and Emmentaler cheese
– Easter bunny brioches / Osterhasebrioches
– Roast leg of lamb with juniper berry sauce / Lammkeule mit Wacholderbeerensauce
– Biennenstich cake. Click on this link for other Easter cake recipes
– Easter lamb cake
– Hefezopf
– German Sweat Bread nests

Ostermontag:
Easter Monday is a day of remembrance and reflection.

Easter Traditions

Ostermarkt

Easter markets are a wonderful place to buy hand-painted easter eggs, easer delicacies and decorations.

A list of easter markets can be found on Ostern-international, Ostern in Deutschland or simply search for Ostermark and your area.

Osterbrunnen

Public fountains are decorated with easter eggs.
The tradition began in the early 20th century.

 

Processions

  • On Palm Sunday the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem is recreated. 
  • Good Friday – Processions enacting the cruxification of Christ. One of the most popular processions takes place in Lohr
  • Osterreiten – a procession on horseback that takes place on Easter Sunday to announce the resurrection of Jesus

Passion plays

The Passion Play in Oberammergau is performed every 10 years and is one of the most famous in Germany. In 1633 the Oberammergau villagers promised to perform the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ every tenth year, in so far as no one was to die of the plague anymore. The villagers were answered by God and therefore in 1634 the first Passion Play took place. The promise has been kept until today. The 42nd Passion Play successfully ran from 14 May to 2 October 2022, after having to be postponed in 2020 due to Covid. A list of popular passion play venues can be found on Passionspiele.info

Osterstrauch

People decorate dry twigs (Osterstrauch) or trees with colourful eggs. One of the biggest Ostereierbäume can be seen in Saalfeld with almost 600 handpainted eggs. 
A great activity for kids (also the grown-up ones) is to paint your own easter eggs. They are hung on trees, used for table decorations, or can be given as gifts.

Painting Eggs

A great activity for kids (also the grown-up ones) is to paint your own easter eggs. They are hung on trees, used for table decorations, or can be given as gifts.

Eggs hold associations with spring and new life. Early Christians made the egg a symbol of the resurrection and the empty shell a metaphor for Jesus’ tomb

Easter Bonfires

The  Osterfeuer/Osterbrände is lit on Good Fieday to light up the darkness following the death of Jesus.  In some regions fires are lit on Easter Sunday.

Easter Bunny

The concept of a bunny bringing eggs may have originated from German folklore. The first mention of the Osterhase dates back to an essay from Georg Franck von Franckenau in 1682.

Hiding Eggs

The custom of hiding and hunting for Easter eggs originated in Germany.  According to folklore, men would hide eggs for women and children to find, this symbolised the resurrection, in which the empty tomb was discovered by women.

 The Easter egg hunt may have originated from the idea of celebrating the end of Lent, a period of fasting and abstinence, by engaging in a joyful activity. The eating of eggs was forbidden during Lent.

Osterlamm

It is traditional to eat lamb on Easter Sunday. The lamb is the symbol of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. It is also popular to eat a Sweet Easter lamb, made from cake and powdered sugar.

Vocabulary

Happy Easterich wünche dir frohe Ostern
Easter bunnyder Osterhase
Easter eggdas Osterei
Easter lambdas Osterlamm
Chocolate bunnyder Schokohase
Daffodilsdie Osterglocke

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Starkbier

Starkbier is as the name suggest a strong beer. It is a legal generic designation for beers in which the original wort content is over 16 °P (degrees Plato). The alcohol level is between 5% and 10%. Most of them are seasonal.
In Munich, Starkbierzeit is called the 5th season. It is during Lent (From Ash Wednesday 14.02.2024 to Easter).

Spargel – the German white gold

Bis Johanni – nicht vergessen – sieben Wochen Spargel essen! The Asparagus season in Germany starts towards the end of April and ends on the

Brussel sprouts with Chestnuts

For 4 people

  • 400 grams Chestnuts (you can buy them prepared)
  • 600 gram Brussel sprouts
  • 75 gram Goose lard (Gänseschmalz) 
  • 15 ml finely hacked Thyme

 

To prepare the Chestnuts:

  1. Cut the chestnuts all around with a knife at the pointed end
  2. Bring salted water to a boil in a pot
  3. Put the chestnuts in a pot and cook for 15 minutes
  4. Drain and let the water drip off
  5. Break out of the shell while still hot, also remove the brown skin

The Brussel sprouts

  1. Rinse the Brussel sprouts
  2. Fill a pot with salt water, add the Brussel sprouts and the chestnuts and boil for 15 minutes
  3. Drain

Finish off

  1. Heat the lard in a pan
  2. Add the Brussel sprout and chestnut mix. Add the thyme
  3. Sauté for a couple of minutes
  4. Serve

Gemmerbier

  • 4.5 liter water
  • 28 g gingerroot crushed
  • 500 ml sugar
  • 15 ml active dry yeast or 1 cube of yeast
  • 5 ml sugar for the yeast mix
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • one lemon
  1. Boil the water and add ginger and sugar.
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved
  3.  Pour it in an enameled can or bucket, and let it cool until lukewarm
  4. mix the yeast,  the 5  ml of sugar and lukewarm water
  5. Let it stand in a warm place for 5 – 10 minutes until it starts to ferment
  6. Add the yeast mixture to the ginger mixture
  7. Cut the lemon into slices and add it to the mixture
  8. Let it stand for 24 hours
  9. Strain it through a clean damp cloth and pour it into clean bottles. Do not fill the bottles to the top, but leave some space available
  10. It will be ready in two or three days
  11.  Keep an eye on the bottles and turn it now and again

Old Gingerbeer recipe

I am sharing this old recipe, for those who can get their hands on Lennon’s Jamaika Gemmer 

  • 9 liter water
  • 7 – 8 koppies (250ml elk) suiker
  • 10 ml kitssuurdeeg
  • Rosyntjies
  • 20 ml Jamaika gemmer
  • Bottels met proppies
  1. Meng alles behalwe die rosyntjies saam tot die suiker opgelos is.
  2. Plaas so 5 rosyntjies in elke bottel en vul dit 3/4 met die gemmerbier
  3. Draai die botel proppies losweg op
  4. Laat staan 1 dag in warm weer of twee dae in koue weer
  5. Draai bottel proppies styf to en plaas in die yskas

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Substitutes – Other Products

Here is a list of substitutes and translations for general food and kitchen items like cling film, maize meal, custard and biscuits    Related content

Where to buy South African products

SA Food Store

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Sonja Kohlöffel – Gem Squash

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Outer Africa

Restaurant and shop Here you will find the best of what the amazing and intriguing continent of Africa has to offer – in particular from

Saffa Shop

A variety of South African products Home made biltong, boerewors, droëwors and chilli bites. Lamb chops. Maize Meal and Samp Maltabella, Jungle Oats, Kreemymeelm and

Die Spens

Die Spens shop is situated next to the A1 in Amersfoort, easily reachable from all over The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Come and have a

Gammon

Gammon is ham that has been cured or smoked like bacon. It is the hind leg of pork after it has been cured by dry-salting or brining, and may or may not be smoked.  Kaufland in Germany occasionally sells Gammon as “Kassler Schinken geräuchert” or “Kassler Braten”

Christmas Gammon

  • 1 smoked ham
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced 
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 30 whole cloves for decoration
  • 45ml honey
  • 50g red candied cherries
  • 4 tinned pineapple rings
  1. Place the ham, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, 5 cloves and peppercorns in a large pot. 
  2. Cover it with warm water. Bring to the boil and boil for 50 minutes per kilogram of meat.
  3. Let it cool
  4. Heat the oven to 230 Degrees Celcius
  5. Take the ham out of the liquid and remove the skin. Keep a layer of fat on the meat.
  6. Cut a diamond pattern into the layer of fat and insert a clove in every diamond
  7. Place the ham on a baking sheet and brush with honey
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Baste the ham every now and again with honey
  10. Decorate with ham and cherries (put a cherry in each pineapple  circle)

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Tipsy tart

250g dates, pitted
1tsp bicarb
1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup Butter
3/4 brown sugar (light)
2 XL eggies
1tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of salt, just a bietjie.
1/2 cups pecans

For the Sauce
1cup light brown sugar
1cup Boiling water
1TBS Butter
1/2 Cup Brandy + n bietjie vir liefde 😋
1 tsp vanilla, yes twice!


  1. Preheat Oven to 180 degrees.
  2.  Add the pitted dates, Bicarb and a cup of boiling water together. Let it stand for about 10mins.
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar and eggies until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the Vanilla Essence
  5. Add the dries to the wets (including the pitted dates mix) and fold it all together and pour into a lightly buttered oven dish.
  6. Bake for about 60 mins, depending on your oven of course! Let’s say 50-60 mins.
  7. Please keep an eye on it, it bakes very dark but obvs have to be spongy
Vir die skop:
  1. Add all the sauce ingredients to a pot and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Poke holes into the baked pudding and pour the sauce over
Shared by Michelle

Black Forest Trifle

  • Chocolate Cake
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 100 ml Cherry juice
  • Juice of on Lemon
  • 500 g Berries (frozen)
  • 500 g Cream
  • 2 packets of Vanilla sugar
  • Chocolate shavings for decoration
  1. Boil the Frozen berries, sugar, cherry and lemon juice together until it becomes thicker. Let it cool
  2. Beat the cream and vanilla sugar until the cream is still
  3. Cut the chocolate cake in think slices or break it into pieces
  4. Layer the cake, berry mix and cream in a glass bowl. Top with chocolate shavings or fresh berries
Notes:
You can sprinkle the cake with sherry or Cherry liquor.
You add a layer of Chocolate mousse or Chocolate custard.
You can add a layer of red jelly.
You can add a dash of Amarula or Bailys to the cream. 

Christmas Fruit Cake

Everyone has their favourite recipe. I find this one on the Sarie website very good with step-by-step instructions and photos. The recipe is in Afrikaans.

Add your recipe

You can add a recipe to our collection. Recipes will be published on this website. You can upload two pictures per recipe

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Christmas Markets

Visiting Christmas markets in Germany is a delightful way of celebrating the festive season. The heavy scent of sweets, fried sausage and warm wine welcome