Food & fire
On the night of Easter Sunday, as part of an ancient Germanic rite, large bonfires are lit to symbolise the end of lent and the beginning of spring. It is believed that everything the fire touches will be safe from harm. Old Christmas trees are even saved and used as firewood. Families and friends gather for big celebrations with food and drink, often lasting well into the night and finishing at a local pub. In some regions, you might even catch the Easter Wheel Run, or Osterräderlauf. A truly remarkable thing to witness, hay is packed into a wooden wheel and set alight, before being rolled down a hill. If it makes it all the way to the bottom, it is supposed to encourage a good harvest.
On Easter Sunday, children will hunt for eggs hidden by the Osterhase, or Easter Bunny, and the family will enjoy a big brunch of breads, pastries and jams, including a Hefezopf braided loaf and a Osterkranz Easter wreath which is stuffed with fruit and nuts. And, for some, it is tradition to have a lamb-shaped cake as the centrepiece of the dining table, decorated with chocolate and icing sugar, to represent life, peace and purity.
And in 2022, our Jewels of Europe, Romantic Rhine & Moselle and Gems of the Danube itineraries will include a very special excursion to the beautiful Alpine town of Oberammergau
as it hosts its once-a-decade passion play depicting the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. Over 2,000 residents, consisting of actors, a full choir and orchestra will take to the open-air stage for the 42nd time, in front of 5,000 spectators.