A story about Bratwurst and Beer, German and British traditions
A rabbit’s for Easter, not just for life
By the time you read this article, all the bunnies will most probably have hopped off into the sunset, or in other words have been packed away for next Easter. Coming from London, the Easter tradition here in Germany amuses me and bewilders me at the same time. Everywhere I go I see rabbits in every shape, size and form possible. I was recently at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and was surprised to not only get my medicine, but a rabbit sitting down with his legs crossed. In England, the only time you hang something on your tree is at Christmas. However in Germany, the shop owners are lucky enough to sell tree ornaments not only at Christmas, but also at Easter; yes, you can even get a hanging rabbit in various poses on top of all the “egg ornaments”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Easter in Germany and you can’t go wrong with a “Lindt Rabbit”. Yes it’s those rabbits again! I am surprised that the film “Watership Down” (a popular British animated film about a group of rabbits who against all odds reach the infamous “Watership Down”) is not shown over Easter, or the song from the film “Bright Eyes” by Art Garfunkel is not released every year at Easter time. I am sure it would be a best seller. Funnily enough, “Watership Down” is always shown in Britain around Christmas time. No I don’t understand the connection here either.
So most probably when you read this article, you will still be trying to get rid of those extra kilos that you have gained through eating a concoction of little Lindt rabbits, bratwurst and beer! Yes, bratwurst and beer. This brings me to my next point. It still surprises me even after such a long time here, but also proves my point, that the Germans are related to the British that the Germans stand around a bonfire, drinking large quantities of beer and consuming lots of bratwursts with Nena’s 99 Luftballons playing in the background. It is the infamous Osterfeuer! Unfortunately, if you were to ask the average Joe Bloggs as to the reason behind the Osterfeuer (a fire to banish the winter and if you come from Bavaria, to celebrate the burning of Judas) a look of confusion appears on his face. The closest equivalent we have to this is “Guy Fawkes Night” on 5th November, where bonfires are lit to celebrate the failure to blow up the Houses of Parliament. However, going back to the point that the British are related to the Germans, it is a well documented stereotype that the British do like a pint and have no qualms about showing it. The Germans, in contrast, do like an Astra or whatever beer might be popular in that region, but prefer to use events such as the “Osterfeuer” as an excuse to get a bit merry.
All in all, Easter in Germany is another version of Christmas just without the presents. People drink and eat too much. I will actually be spending Easter in London this year and the Lindt rabbits will be joining me. But on my return, I’ll be bringing Cadbury’s Creme Eggs back with me (small chocolate eggs with a filling which looks like the white and yolk of an egg) which still don’t seem to have caught on in Germany. Maybe they need to be shaped like rabbits?
Ritu Marwaha, Owner of Institute4Languages