The Osterbaum

Family traditions were taken very seriously in my family. “Happy Birthday” was duly sung at first light, offerings were left for Santa (long after we recognised Dad’s handwriting) and Christmas trees were selected with the utmost attention to the ratio of height to bushiness. This year as Easter looms and we are left to celebrate it alone, I’ve decided its time to create some family traditions for ourselves, with German inspiration. Judging by the amount of chocolate being leveled at shoppers in Stuttgart, Germany celebrates Easter with the best of them. In fact, Germans are apparently responsible for both the egg and bunny side things. Sadly, hot cross buns are conspicuous by their absence. But there is one custom that has popped up all over town. I first noticed it on the way home one day.


An Easter tree! And why not? Pretty soon I was seeing a tree in every shop window, festooned with a strange garish array of hanging eggs. I knew I’d found our custom.

My quest for the perfect Osterbaum began at my favourite shop in Botnang. Frau Nicodem speaks no English, and so far has understood none of the German words I’ve tried out on her. But somehow we’ve sprouted an unlikely friendship. On two occasions she’s asked her son to translate over the phone. For the most part however, she speaks in German while I speak in English, and Rose fills in the gaps with words like “meow”. On my last visit I noticed some brightly painted Easter eggs hanging in the window.

I eventually gleaned they were hand painted duck eggs. Though not a pansy girl by nature, I decided on six, and she carefully wrapped each one. From my reading on the subject of Easter trees, I knew the branches chosen for decoration were supposed to be from newly budding plants. Feeling a little nervous about plundering a perfectly healthy specimen, I decided this would have to be done away from public view. As an expat one lives with the constant fear of unwittingly breaking some unwritten rule, and incurring the wrath of the people. Outlandish behaviour like branch stealing is best done discreetly. Rose and I wound our way along the path through the forest and emerged with an armful of budding branches. Though I say it myself, I’m rather impressed with the result!

Happy Easter dear friends, wherever you may be. Remember to spend some time asking “why did Jesus die?”


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3 Responses to “The Osterbaum”


  1. 1 Great Grandad April 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Love your Easter photos Ally, but no Rose??
    Really enjoying reading your Mavis & Frank “Blogs”
    trust you have a nice Easter Love from Grandad & Nanna

  2. 3 Jill April 17, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Your Easter Eggs are truly gorgeous. Reminded me immediately of our Easter Egg tree in Mahopac, New York, in 1983. We were there as a family for just one year, and, like you, needed to maintain and create ‘traditions’. Our eggs were the blow and dye variety which could be a fun project for Rose in a few years time. Christmas decorations, too, have been our only ‘souvenir’ in travels. It’s lovely to have an annual nostalia reverie as we decorate the tree each year. Germany should be a delight in that regard. It’s very special to share your blogs. Lots and lots of love, Jill


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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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