Has the grayness of a European winter got you down? The number of cold and dreary days during the months of February and March can dampen the spirits of even the most positive among us, but have no fear….I have a solution to your winter doldrums….Easter Markets!! Easter season is in full swing here in Germany, with many local cities hosting local Ostereiermarkt (Easter Egg Markets) and spring festivals. Although Easter is a little on the early side this year (Easter Sunday is March 27th), you still have plenty of time to catch an Easter market and a spring festival or two!!
What is an Easter Market?
The first decorated Easter eggs made their appearance circa the 13th century and archeologists have found evidence of decorative eggs pre-dating Christianity. Although it is impossible to know when the first Easter markets appeared, it is a centuries old tradition in much of Europe, and it is growing in popularity each year!
Each city in Germany has a slightly different take on what an Easter Market should look like, but one thing is for sure— each market will feature talented artists displaying their homemade treasures for purchase. Of course, hand decorated Easter eggs will take center stage and the choices (and prices) can vary widely!! At each market, you will find a large selection of decorated quail, hen, finch, goose, duck, and Ostrich eggs. If the natural eggs don’t catch your eye (or you’re worried about future PCS moves), you can also find fantastic man-made varieties composed of: wood, marble, glass and porcelain……just to name a few. Prices range from an affordable 4 euro up to thousands of euro per egg!
I have had the opportunity to visit two lovely Easter markets this year (so far!). One, located in the 12th century monastery of Maulbronn—a UNESCO world heritage site— was held on February 20-21st and featured over 50 artists from all over Europe. Although the large number of attendees and the big signs that said “Bitte nicht fotografieren” (please do not photograph), kept me from taking photos inside the market, I was thoroughly impressed by the artistry and came away with six new eggs to add to my collection! In addition, the cost for Eintritt (entry) was relatively low. Three euro per adult with children under 14 admitted free.
A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of visiting the lovely city of Fellbach, where their Easter market was held on March 5th and 6th. It was comprised of over 180 Kunsthandwerkerinnen (Craftspeople) and it did NOT disappoint. It was held in the Schwabenlandhalle Fellbach and covered four floors. There was a rabbit petting zoo for the little ones, several food vendors, and craftsmen actually demonstrating their wood working, glass blowing and egg painting skills. The picture is of a vendor from Verenaglas located in Hausen ob Verena (about 1 ½ hours from Stuttgart). A master craftsman, he has been working in the glassblowing business for the past 45 years and blows all of the glass items he has for sale (and he offers a lot more than glass eggs!)
Is it expensive to attend?
Most Easter markets that I have seen only charge admission if they are indoors in a Stadthalle (city convention center), and even then, the charge is usually minimal (4 euro per adult is the highest I have paid and kids under 14 are often free)!
How can I find an Easter market near me?
Easter markets here in Germany are not as well publicized as the Christmas markets in my opinion, but, with a little research on your part, you will be able to find markets in your area—wherever that may be! The most comprehensive site I have found to date is: ostern-in-deutschland.de, but it is by no means complete! To use the site, search first by state and then by city (ex: Baden-Württemberg, Fellbach). Once you have located the correct city, you will be provided with dates, opening times, location and there is usually a link to take you directly to the Easter Market/Festival website. Two additional sites that seem to have a good deal of information are: ostereier.de and kunsthandwerker-markt.de. Finally, veranstaltung-baden-wuerttemberg.de will allow you to search for specific cities within the BadenWürttemberg region.
Upcoming markets in Germany:
Where: Nürnberger Hauptmarkt
Entrance Fee: none. It is an open air market in the main square in town.
Markt der Sinne zu Ostern
When: 3/25/16-3/28/16 (Good Friday through Easter Monday 11:00 am-7:00 pm)
Entrance Fee: 7 euro per person
When: 3/20/16 (10:00 am-6:00 pm)
Where: Museum der Alltagskultur – Schloss Waldenbuch
Entrance Fee: Erwachsene (Adults) 3 Euro
ermäßigt (reduced rate) 2 Euro
Jugendliche 13 bis 18 Jahre (Youth 13-18 years-old) 1,50 Euro
Kinder bis 12 Jahre frei (Children under 12 are free)
When: 3/26/16-4/10/16 (2:00 pm-11:00 pm Monday-Thursday, Friday-Saturday open until midnight, Sundays and holidays 11:00 am-11:00 pm)
Entrance Fee: none listed
I truly hope that you get the opportunity to venture out into the local community and experience an Easter Market this season! I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the intricately and painstakingly detailed Easter decorations and my only regret was that I couldn’t buy more!! I will definitely make visiting Easter markets a part of my family’s Easter traditions! There is something for everyone at the markets. Even if collecting hand decorated eggs isn’t your passion, grab a pretzel and wander through the vendor stalls! Watching a vendor use a lathe to carve wooden tops or a gentleman creating hand blown, delicate glass ornaments surely will give you an appreciation for all of the work that goes into the gorgeous finished products on display! Frohe Ostern (Happy Easter) every one!