Last Wednesday marked the last day of school before Easter break. Those days in school from Monday to Wednesday were basically a huge celebration of Easter activities before the long 10-day break…yes…10 days…and Winter break was just three weeks ago! Easter is a pretty big holiday for the Germans, and sadly not because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but mostly because of the Easter bunny and the never-ending commercial chocolate feast that it has become. Decorating Easter eggs as symbols of Jesus’ empty tomb was among the cherished Easter customs of the Christian world.
Additional customs, such as egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades have become the norm as many non-Christians began celebrating the festivities as well. The folkloric figure of the Easter Bunny, for example, originated among German Lutherans. The ‘Easter Hare’ originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or bad at the start of the season of Eastertide. He carries colored eggs in his basket, candy, and sometimes also toys to the homes of children the night before their respective holidays. This idea of an egg-giving hare travelled to the United States with the Protestant German immigrants who told their children and so, eggs & bunnies made their way across the non-Christian world.
In our predominantly Catholic cultures, Holy Week has also been somewhat shifted into a somewhat Spring Break-ish phenomenon. Whether it be the intense heat that sends everyone running to the beach on this long, hot week; or the lack of Catholic faith in our world nowadays, little is left of the story of the passion, the crown of thorns, and the grievance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Regardless of our egg-coloring fun & our glorious tans by the end of the break, Holy Week should always be a time of reflection within all of us, remembering the life of Christ through his final week, along with the lamentation of his death & the joy of his resurrection.
Every since World War II and after 40 years of Communist rule, the majority of the population of Saxony has become secular, with the Evangelical Church representing the largest faith in the state with a mere 21.4% of the entire population. It is for this reason, that my Holy Week was mostly chocolate eggs & bunnies…and I was happy to receive a lovely handmade paper Easter basket from my daughter, with fake Easter grass and candied Easter eggs, and a very German recipe for the traditional egg salad, their multipurpose all-year round (sometimes only potatoes) Eiersalat.
For the Salad
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 4 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
- Chives / Parsley / Wild garlic / Dill (by choice)
- Plain yogurt (with olive oil) / Mayonnaise / Salad dressing (by choice)
- Salt & pepper
- Pickles / Bacon / Mushrooms
This is an authentic German school recipe – plus some alternations made by my inventive 10-year-old (bacon & mushrooms scream her doing). Nonetheless, I am proud to share it with you direct from her recipe guide.
Peel the boiled eggs & potatoes.. Cut into small pieces and place in a bowl. Chop the pickles, bacon, and mushrooms into fine pieces and add to the bowl. Combine with small soft strokes and add the yogurt, oil, mayonnaise, or salad dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste. Combine well. Add the herbs of choice and combine again. Serve at room temperature.