Easter Markets and Ancient Traditions

We here in Schliersee just enjoyed a beautiful weekend to begin the German Easter vacation break.  Not only did we have spectacular weather to enjoy but Palm Sunday weekend also means we have colorful Easter markets to visit.

In Schliersee we had two lovely markets, chock full of delicious and creative items.  It is a wonderful feeling after a long cold winter to see the landscape dotted with color once more.  One Easter tradition you find in Germany is the Easter Tree. It is a symbol of new life.  You see trees in front of many homes decorated with colorful eggs. In many other homes people bring in fruit tree branches and put them in a vase to force the branches to bloom early, filling the house with color and life.  Colorful dyed or hand painted eggs are hung from these branches to give it the finishing touch.

Another ornamental tradition here in Schlieree is the “Palmbuschen or Palmbüscherl”. In Catholic American churches families get palm fronds or palm crosses which are part of Christian iconography symbolizing the palm branches that were waved at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On Palmsamstag or the Saturday before Palm Sunday, in the afternoon adults, children and teenagers of the Catholic church make the Palmbüscherl using certain natural materials for protection and blessing. They bind them using branches of Cedar, Yew, Holly, Juniper and most traditionally Palm Willow or what we in the US call Pussy Willow. The Pussy Willow or Palm Willow is used in Europe instead of the Palm Frond. These little wand like Palmbuschen are intricate little tokens of devotion and are themselves works of art.


On Palmsonntag the Palmbüscherl are individually attached to long wooden poles and carried down the aisle of the  church in a solemn procession to be blessed. They are then taken home and placed either by the Easter Tree or in traditional catholic Bavarian homes, in the Herrgottswinkel. What is the Herrgottswinkel of a home you ask?  I had to look it up as well but definitely found it very interesting. The Herrgottswinkel is something you see in many old Bavarian farm houses, it is a corner in a room where a wooden carved crucifix is hung. It is almost like a shrine or an altar and it is here that the little Palmbuschen is placed.

If you are lucky enough to be in Schliersee for Easter Vacation next year you can find all these traditional holiday crafts as well as many others at the yearly markets held at Vitalwelt and St Joseph’s Church in Neuhaus.  My husband said the best part is always the homemade cakes.


Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).