Home German Holidays and Festivals Festivals What is the Easter Fire in Germany? A Symbol of Light in Darkness….
What is the Easter Fire in Germany? A Symbol of Light in Darkness….

What is the Easter Fire in Germany? A Symbol of Light in Darkness….

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what is the easter fire in germany




What is the Easter Fire in Germany, and why is it lit? The Easter Fire, or Osterfeuer, is a symbol of light in the darkness. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, or  as big as the bonfires which are ignited all over in Germany at Easter. Because fire is a symbol of light, of renewal, it signifies the end of Winter, and the coming of spring. It also symbolizes Jesus Christ, as the Light of the world.  Depending on the community, the Easter fire is lit on Good Friday or Black (Holy) Saturday, with Saturday being more common, and extinguished on Easter Sunday or Monday.

What is the Easter Fire in Germany?

What is the Origin of the Easter Fire in Germany?

And how did the Easter Fire start?

what is the easter fire in germanyFor hundreds of years, the Easter Fire has been a tradition in Germany. In Christian tradition, the Easter fire starts with the lighting of a Paschal candle, usually by a Priest or Pastor, to symbolize the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The candle is generally lit on Holy (Black) Saturday to start the Easter Vigil. Parishioners can then light their own candles from this candle. The large Paschal candle is kept lit through the Easter Season. In some churches it stays lit until Ascension Day, or is used throughout the year for Baptisms.

But there is a much older meaning behind the Easter fires that comes from the pre-Christian Saxon tradition. Bonfires at this time of year help the Earth to usher in Spring, and banish the cold and dark of Winter. The fires were also considered a symbol of fertility, and rebirth. The ashes from the Easter fires were spread on the fields to fertilize the soil, and insure good crops for the coming year.

What is the Easter Fire in Germany Today?

Today, Easter bonfires in Germany have lost most of the religious meaning, and they tend to be social event. Friends and family come together with neighbors around a fire, and it’s more like a huge party with food and drink. Depending on where you are in Germany, you can either light your own bonfire, while in other areas, bonfires are built and monitored by the local fire department.

More recently, the Osterfeuer, Easter Fires, have evolved into small Volkfests. Booths are set up near the fire to sell food and drink, and some communities even have rides for the kids!

Fires are generally left lit until dawn on Easter Morning, although, in some places they continue burning until Easter Monday, which is a National Holiday in Germany.

what is the easter fire in germany
Easter Fire in the borough of Lemsahl in Hamburg, Germany, 2015
Photo by GeoTrinity

 

For more information about Easter Traditions in Germany… follow these links—>

What is an Osterbaum?

What is Osterwasser?

Where did the Easter Bunny Originate?

Light Your Own Easter Fire

Easter Candles, Easter Pyramids and Easter Candle Arches from Germany

Vint GERMAN CARVED Candle, Madonna and Child, Ochre, 7Vint GERMAN CARVED Candle, Madonna and Child, Ochre, 7″ tall, Christianity, Christmas, Mother and Child,3 West German Egg Candles and Candle holders3 West German Egg Candles and Candle holdersVintage Ornate German Easter Egg Candles Floral DecorVintage Ornate German Easter Egg Candles Floral DecorEasternest Candles from Germany set of 12Easternest Candles from Germany set of 12

 

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Bunny Rabbits with Chick and Flowers German Wood Easter Candle Arch Made GermanyBunny Rabbits with Chick and Flowers German Wood Easter Candle Arch Made GermanyGerman Tea Light Candle Platform for Easter 3 InchGerman Tea Light Candle Platform for Easter 3 InchGerman Tea Light Candle Pyramid with Lovely Bunny Couple Seated on Park Bench 9 InchGerman Tea Light Candle Pyramid with Lovely Bunny Couple Seated on Park Bench 9 Inch& B

 

Adorable Easter Lights from Villeroy & Boch

Click the image to learn more

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what is the easter fire in germany

Comment(2)

  1. Great post, never heard about this Easter Fire before so this made an interesting read to me. The best thing is that we can have our own easter fires too.

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