I went to the supermarket and noticed that the shelves are so full again of Easter decorations once again, especially the irresistable chocolate eggs,bunnies and so much more! It really looks crazy. Every color, design and the variaties are endless.It´s undeniably obvious, Easter is coming.I cycled through our neighbourhood and saw the cute rows of decorated Easter trees, (or bushes,) especially with the blooming yellow Forsythia bush and Pussy Willows adorned with colorful eggs.Only in Bavaria that we have decorated trees same as Christmas!
I thought, ah yes,that reminds me, that is really typical Bavarian.
Here in Germany, Maundy Thursday is called “Grun Donnerstag” or Green Thursday. I was so curious why is that so , so I did a little bit of research. The fact that Easter is well celebrated here,but not really religiously,I ponder upon what are the normal norms during Holy week here in Bavaria.For the last 6 years, It dawned upon me how unique Germans celebrated Holy week.
First, why is it called Grün (Green) , and not red, or blue, or other colour? Kidding aside, I am only thinking of Spring cleaning day and haven´t really thought about the color meanings!
Actually it´s not really about the literal colour meaning. It´s more like the complexity of German language. It seemed so complicated and people always get confused by it. It´s more like “Greinen” or “Weinen“. It´s probably a time for mourning, crying or despair. I was born Catholic so I knew exactly how it goes. I remember as a kid I am being dragged to all of Holy Week festivities. From Ash Wednesday where my forehead is marked with ashes to waving our native “Palaspas ” on Palm Sunday and eventually practicing “Fasting” up until “Good Friday“. I grew up with these religious traditions.I even helped to decorate and dressed up the Santo Entiero as part of the yearly Holy week procession.My grandfather would carved out lamps made out of banana stalks and put candles inside it to lighten up the path.
It´s expected for us to be eventually being solemn during Black Saturday, meditating, praying and doing some charity work and finishing it off with a mass during Easter Sunday.
I cannot recall seeing or eating a chocolate Easter eggs before, or even the coloured cooked eggs that is so prevalent here.At first I thought that Easter here in Germany is only about sweets and laxing off. With 2 weeks of no school, many families are going on vacation or visiting relatives.But when it comes to traditions (or Osterbräuche) or special events, there is not much going on, at least here on our region.
On Maundy Thursday, we remember and reflect on the “Last Supper” or den letzten Mahl. The last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples shows how emotions and despair plays knowing that one of his followers betrayed him.
I´ve heard that in some parts, they break their fast with eating some homemade spinach soup with boiled eggs. At least the soup is green!Maybe that´s the reason why.People opt to omit eating red meat during these days since some are fasting and abstaining. Probably abstaining from drinking beer as well!But definitely most fountains are decorated with eggs, spring blooms and garlands. It´s like announcing yes, they can be opened again after months of hibernating! So if you happened to travel in Germany during Holy week, I am sure you will see a decorated fountain (or Osterbrunnen).
Rather than focusing on the religious aspects of Easter, Germans prefer to favor more on the festivities like Easter egg hunt, Easter Bunny (Osterhase) , and indulging in Easter delicacies such as Easter bread or Hefezopft (braided yeast bun). All bakeries sell this bread and I think this is the star in most German breakfast table during Easter.I mean you can´t go hungry here during Easter.The weather is slowly getting enjoyable so the parks would be packed with picnics and bbq´s as well!
With Spring coming in full bloom and yes, Corona Pandemic is slowly ebbing away, everything is going back to normal once again. Family gatherings, parties, and even cultural events such as the Ostermarkts (Easter markets) are happening once again.Like spring where new buds and blooms starts to erase the traces of dreary winter, so is the green color adding more vibe to our daily lives like rebirth or something.
And lastly, easter Sunday is not enough, we also have Ostermontag ( Easter Monday) and that is a legal holiday here in Germany, Austria and in some parts of Switzerland. One day is not enough just like we also have 2 days of Christmas.
I am bent on chasing more lakes and green nature this coming Holy week. I would like to spend more time outdoors and less time for worrying. I would be chasing easter eggs in our garden as well togther with my daughter and probably visit an Easter market as well.
What about you, do you have any special plans for Easter?What are you up to?
Until then, have a safe week and Happy Easter! Tschüss.
3 thoughts on “Grün Donnerstag (Maundy Thursday)”
Lovely restful green landscapes! And an interesting explanation of the German name and some of the customs there. It’s not dissimilar here in the UK. The emphasis for most people is on Easter eggs, but obviously believers go to church on Easter Sunday, and Catholics at least observe some fasting and abstinence, and many go to church on Good Friday too. And we also have Monday as a holiday and I am having some of my family visit for lunch 🙂
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Hi JBD, Your pictures are astounding. Such beauty and reflections. Your explanations of the Easter celebration is so clear. Sadly, as Protestants, our family celebrated the Holy Week minimally, aware more from Good Friday to Easter with services at church. We didn’t celebrate Lent, or at least with no consistency, and I don’t remember seeing anyone with ashes on their foreheads growing up or even now. I never understood “Green Thursday,” but your explanation makes sense. Thanks for sharing this. I’d invite you to post a link to this post on my WQW post this week about Easter. http://alwayswrite.blog/2022/04/13/wqw-15-observing-religious-holidays-in-april/
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In our area the Easter Fires in villages are still very popular but the older traditions are vanishing. My mum was still collecting Easter Water https://www.spreewald-info.de/ostern/osterbrauch/osterwasser/
If you ever make it up North for Easter, Spreewald is the way to go!