How do they celebrate Easter in Germany?

As with many things in Germany, different regions have different traditions for Easter. In some regions it’s the Easter fox who delivers the chocolate eggs; in others it’s the Easter rooster or the Easter stork. However the Österhase (the Easter hare or Easter bunny) is slowly taking over all of the regions.

In the north of the country, fires are lit to celebrate the end of the cold winter months and to welcome spring. They are lit on the Saturday night and kept burning until the Sunday morning. This stems from a Pagan tradition which was believed to keep away sickness.

Another Germany Easter tradition is the Easter egg tree. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a tree with decorated eggs hanging from it. Sometimes, rather than decorating a whole tree, a twig in a vase is used.

A typical Easter meal would be a lamb dish, followed by a cream-filled cake in the shape of lamb.

Related posts: Easter in England,

M is for Maori

MMaori belongs to the Eastern Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. It is spoken by the Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) and has been an official language of New Zealand since 1987. Until the late 18th century it was the only language, closely related to Tahitian and Hawai’ian.

After the arrival of British settlers in New Zealand, English became the dominant language and only English was allowed to be spoken in school. Children who spoke Maori were punished. By the 1980s only about 20% of the Maori people spoke Te Reo as the language is known in Maori. Te Reo (short for Te Reo Maori) means “the language”.

From the 1980s there have been efforts to save the language from extinction, but it is still vulnerable and appears on the UNESCO endangered languages list.

One of the ways to protect the language was the setting up of “language nests” known as Kohanga Reo which is an immersion program for pre-school children where they socialise with older generations who are fluent speakers.

If you’d like to find out more about Maori and few words, there’s an interesting free course at Open2Study. You may also like this list of words.

Related posts:  L is for Latvian and Lithuanian     N is for……

L is for Latvian and Lithuanian

LThese two languages are the only two surviving languages of the Baltic subdivision of Proto-Indo-European. They are also believed to be the ones which are closest, linguistically speaking, to PIE, retaining many of its features. Although they probably started out as dialects of each other, they now have very different vocabularies and are not mutually intelligible. Both languages use the Latin alphabet.

Latvian is spoken by approximately 1.3 million native speakers and a further 700,000 people speak it as a second language. Lithuanian has about 3 ½ million speakers.

Related posts: K is for Korean and Kickapoo    M is for….


Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd. It is 40 days after 25th December, and so it is believed to be the day that Mary was purified after giving birth and therefore the day that Jesus was first taken to the temple.

The date is known as Candlemas because in the 11th century all candles that were going to be used in church that year were blessed, and people took their own candles to church to be blessed also.

In Mexico the date is called Día de la Candelaria and it marks the end at the Christmas celebrations. The baby Jesus is taken from the Nativity scene and dressed in a special outfit before being taken to church to be blessed. According to tradition, whoever found the baby Jesus charm inside the Roscón on 6th January has to buy the tamales (chicken and meat wrapped in corn dough) for the party after the Candelaria ceremony.

February 2nd is also linked to many non-Christian festivals relating to hopes and prayers for a good harvest later in the year. It is the date of the pagan festival of Imbolc, the Roman festival of Lupercalia and a Mexican festival were the indigenous villages took their corn to be blessed before planting.