Osterbrunnen, or Easter fountains, herald spring’s return to chilly Germany’s Franconia or Franken region. Each year, wells and fountains in town centers are dressed with boxwood cuttings, ribbons and delicately-painted pastel eggs. The custom celebrates water’s life-giving properties.
The decorations typically spring up one week before Easter Sunday and they grace the fountains for a week thereafter, lending colorful accents to cobbled lanes and village centers that have been slumbering during the grey and frigid winter season.
In preparation for this long Easter weekend, my mother and I swung by her favorite Ansbach bakery last week, tucked away in the small city’s Altstadt, or old town. Though dogs are beloved in Germany and often seen accompanying their masters into department stores, cafés and restaurants, a sign outside the bakery indicated that Maltese, pup, Gigi had to remain outside while we loaded up the wicker basket with baked German goodies. In such establishments where dogs are verboten, there are hooks outside on which furry friends can be tethered while the Hund’s owner is inside shopping.
Eager to be showered with morsels of meat and biscuits from benevolent German shopkeepers – as Gigi and her canine sister, Meg, typically are when accompanying my mother on shopping errands – Gigi was decidedly unhappy that she had to remain outside – far from the culinary treats. Here’s hoping that you’re having a happier Easter and celebration of spring’s return! :)
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.