Chase away the chill of spring and gather 'round a bonfire ring! There's really no good reason to wait until summer to enjoy this cozy pastime - it is perfect for any season! Interestingly enough, many holidays and rituals throughout the world are centered around dancing flames and the ambient light of the fire. Since we are quickly approaching the Easter holiday, let's take a look at a time-honored tradition that is celebrated in Germany.
For hundreds of years, Germany's Easter Fire (Osterfeuer) has been a symbol of "light in the darkness." It is a time when families, friends, and neighbors gather to eat, drink, and be merry! Many people choose to host a small get-together at their homes in a more intimate setting, while others flock toward community-sponsored events called Volkfests. Here, event-goers enjoy music, amusement rides, games of chance, and a variety of different foods and drinks. Vendors come from near and far to sell their wares and partake in the event.
Bonfires are lit, usually at dusk on Good Friday or on eve of Easter Sunday. Much of the wood that is used (such as old Christmas trees and slab wood) has been collected and saved specifically for this occasion. The fire remains bright and full through Sunday or Monday, at which time everyone enjoys a delicous Easter Day meal. Lamb, chicken, and eggs are the main courses, while pastries and other decadent dishes are enjoyed.
While many people think this tradition revolves around religious beliefs, its origin and meaning are far older and less complex. Fire is considered a symbol of renewal, which perfectly embodies the entire process of the cold, dark winter coming to an end, while a vibrant spring season brings new life to the earth. In the German culture, fire also symbolizes rebirth. Once the celebration is all said and done, ashes from the Easter fires are spread across farmlands to fertilize the soil and bring a good crop for the coming year.
While Easter is celebrated a bit more conservatively here in the United States, the team at Fireside Expressions can't help but get excited about hosting our very own Osterfeuers this year! Afterall, creating new traditions around the fire is something we're all familiar with! Why not consider lighting your own fire to welcome spring with the help of our wood burning fire pits?
From Fireside Expressions to all of you, stay warm and Happy Easter! (Or should we say...Happy Osterfeuer!)