Der Ostereierbaum: The German Easter Egg Tree …


Drive through any village, town or neighborhood in Germany around Easter time and you will see colorful eggs tied on with ribbons hanging from every tree and bush in almost every yard. Known as der Ostereierbaum, the tradition of decorating branches of trees and bushes with eggs for Easter is centuries old, even though no one really knows where and how it really started.

In our home every year around Easter, along with decorating our front yard trees, my mom would and still does place a few budding branches into a vase and we would hang colorful eggs from them. Almost all of the eggs we had ausgeblasen or “hollowed out” ourselves and later bemalt or painted. Since it is sometimes still cold and gray in the spring time in Germany, the colorful eggs add a festive atmosphere and represent new life.

Even though some people forgo the first step of coloring their own Easter eggs and buy colorful plastic and wooden eggs, few forgo the actual decorating. Besides eggs, other popular decorations include wooden Easter decorations. To this day some of my favorite Ostereierbaum decorations include little bunnies, birds and little nests with baby chicks or colored Easter eggs. In many families, such decorations are handed down from generations to generations.

The most famous of Ostereierbäumen is in Thüringen. For years, Volker Kraft in Saalfeld, Germany had been adding more and more eggs each year to an apple tree in his front yard bringing the total to 10,000 eggs.

And inside the home the Easter egg tree make a lovely centerpiece or the Easter table, or a beautiful decoration for the sideboard. And it’s so easy to make your own. All you need is a free branches which can either be found in nature or bought at any crafts store or even grocery store. We bought ours at Michael’s this year. Three branches for about $10. And decorations – even authentic German decorations – at World Market. But even Amazon has branches and decorations that can be used.

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