Ostern for Dummies: A Satire


Ostern for Dummies: A Satire

Welcome to the end of days here in Germany. The time in which greed, suffering and glory meet over a four day weekend and combine with bunnies, eggs and spargel. Ostern is Easter in Germany not to be confused with Orthodox Easter later down the road. This Sunday and (Friday and Monday excluding Saturday) are apart of the Christian religion. Do not quote me because I am totally anti religion after having it shoved down my throat as a child but I guess Catholic Easter is the same as Christian Easter? Same God, same story of his resurrection, right? I grew up in a Baptist unapologetically Black church family but attended Catholic school so I am all over the damn place when it comes to these days. I do not recall what candle goes where or what hymns to sing. Unfortunately, this holiday is one where I abstain considering it for churchgoers and children. But this year I will be entertaining on the Saturday that falls in the midst of the Easter weekend so I probably should get my facts straight. I mean for some people it is way more than Cadbury eggs and Peeps marshmallows. My God ... Cadbury eggs! 

If you have been watching the news, there is a lot of reference to Holy Week. This is the week where Jesus was crucified, buried and then came back to life hence the term "He Has Risen". In looking around on Al Gore's Internet I have seen that eggs do have some symbolism in this and so do other "crossover" images in popular culture like "The Last Supper" and Easter lilies. Unfortunately, I now realize all the rest of the stuff from egg hunts, bunnies and gifting is all pagan nonsense. Forgive me, but all I know of Easter is the latter. The days of going in for Easter service are so far behind me all I have are memories of consumerism and fantasy. Right now, I have to pivot my prior experiences to one of Ostern traditions here in Germany. And from what I can see, looks like Germany is more into the pagan portion of the Easter holiday than they think. The church bells have rang all week, the city is closing as we speak (hmm that rhymed) but there is a proliferation of bunnies, chocolate and pastel eggs here too. There is also a festive meal or many as there is a plethora of feinkost goods available in stores for lavish dining and entertaining. There are also decorative items for those who like to take it too far from egg tablecloths to large bunny shaped cookie cutters. America is festive but not like that.

During the pandemic, Weihnachten and the Second Wave is ruining things for Ostern and its perceived Third Wave. It is not a good idea to host multiple guests for a rack of lamb and Jesus' sacrifice. However, stores are really marketing to do so anyways and I do not think Germans are even concerned. The stores this week have been very stressful and rightfully so. Last week we were told Easter weekend would include Thursday too. This was quickly rolled back but unfortunately after we rescheduled things because all places open during Holy Week had to shutter earlier than Good Friday or Karlsfreitag. Yes, a lot of businesses from restaurants to doctors offices close the entire week before Ostern. I honestly get why they choose to because why remain open four days, close Friday, re-open Saturday and then close again for Sunday and Monday? As for this year, the supply chain is already in ruins, the hamsterkauf is back and people cannot survive without daily trips to Rewe. A fifth day for those businesses who understand our pain was just overkill especially considering most stores just re-opened two weeks ago anyways. I didn't have to post this earlier to warn you as I do not think there are any incoming American expats at this point. But understand Holy Week can be like Hell Week for us who aren't indoctrinated into pre-holiday, holidays, Sundays and then Bridge Days. Typically, in the States things are open all week and many remain open on Easter Day. Our technical bridge day falls on a Friday or Monday considering where the holiday falls and it only affects banking and postal services. Here in Germany the world is closed longer than any other observed holiday in the year. I do not know how they came to whatever weird conclusion to add a day to damper travel and gathering. If anything that just gave Germans more time to get to their destination and eat even more communal lamb. 

That brings us to the feast. A meat laden spread to mark the end of Lent. It is also a special time for Jewish families called Passover ending with a bountiful Sader. I grew up in a Black household who reserved our best clothes and China for Easter Sunday. We typically served a bone-in, spiral cut, sugary glazed ham for Easter dinner. It would be scored and decorated with canned pineapple rings and cloves. The sides if not soul food or "Black people food" would typically revolve around all things Spring and green - asparagus, green beans or peas. Here in the markets there are full rabbits, plucked goose and all types of cuts of lamb. It is adventure like no other to find a similar Easter picnic American style ham in Germany - at any time. Those hams are cured and or smoked which is not really a thing here. While there are tons of variations of pork they aren't quite heat up and serve like back home. Think finding a turkey for Thanksgiving, it is more or less like that. The sides here are typical - spargel, hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes etc. Of course there are other exciting things like lamb shaped butter, Ostern brot, salmon with dill sauce and shrimp cocktail. Ostern can get very kitschy in Germany if you want it to be. I figured I would pair my hopefully acceptable ham with scalloped potatoes and peas. I would also dazzle my guests with deviled eggs and Ostern bread pudding.  We are hosting on Saturday because family taxes will be done before and fußball will be watched after. I cannot make this stuff up. In America, our Eastern celebrations would be terribly formal and the TV nor taxes would be a thing.

I do not miss stuffy clothes like white pantyhose and taffeta dresses for one day of the year. It will be refreshing to wear whatever I want in my own home whilst eating yeast rolls. My only issue is to not step on toes or say the wrong thing in terms of why we are eating what we are eating when we are. I've already screwed up asking about vacuuming. If you are wondering, no you may not on Friday, Sunday or Monday but Saturday is fine. I was granted permission to do laundry though so there's that. I would suggest if there is anything you didn't buy during the week including eggs or secret bunny presents I would suggest you get up very early first thing Saturday morning to seek them out. As for Church services and other group events for the holiday on Sunday sorry but I doubt they are a thing. While I do not want to disrespect anyones beliefs or right to worship whatever God, I encourage people to stay home, safe and healthy. Some restaurants will remain open and deliver or offer take away. I am certain there will be virtual services online and children can be entertained with malbuchs and egg dying. If anything, this weekend is about rest. It could be the only time one has to catch up on their Spring Forward rest, begin doing some Spring Cleaning or do ones taxes. I wish you whatever Easter you so desire and in return please wish me a properly executed ham. 

Pray over that sinful German ham.