How to Make a German Easter Tree
The tradition of making Easter trees started in Germany, and while the making of these trees (decorated with eggs) has not spread much wider than Germany itself, this is where the Easter bunny and Easter eggs actually came from.
Like Christmas, Easter, while a Christian celebration, is based on ancient customs, and indeed was originally celebrated to welcome the new spring.
Eggs and rabbits both symbolise fertility, the start of the growing season with new leaves appearing on trees and the return of growing grass, nesting birds, new life being created after the harsh winter months have passed.
Personally I love the idea of decorating trees with brightly painted and decorated eggs, and while it is possible to buy chocolate wrapped ready-prepared Easter eggs and bunnies, it is fun to make your own.
My childhood Easters were spent painting hard-boiled eggs with watercolors, and rolling them down a hill on Easter Sunday to symbolise the rolling away of the stone that occurred when Jesus rose from the dead.
It never occurred to me to hang them up on trees instead. What a wonderful idea! Thanks, Germany.
A short video clip of a German tree decorated with 1000s of eggs
How to prepare the eggs for hanging on a tree
Hard boiled eggs are quite heavy for tree branches, so ideally you want the egg without the insides.
To remove the egg yolk and white, simply pierce an egg at both ends with a darning needle.
Make one hole bigger than the other.
Make sure the needle has pierced the yolk as it will not come out when it is still whole.
Then blow through the smaller hole while holding the egg over a basin, and the egg content should come out pretty easily, especially if the egg is at room temperature.
You may break a few eggs first before you get the hole right, but at least you can always scramble the eggs so that they don't go to waste.
Break a toothpick in half, and thread string round it
Push the toothpick through the hole in the egg, making sure that it goes in completely, leaving the string outside
The stick should turn back into the horizontal position inside the egg, leaving the string firmly in position
Decorate the egg for Easter
Once the eggshell has dried out, you can use watercolor paints, oil paints or even kitchen food dye to paint the egg.
In Germany, eggs are highly decorated to increase their attractiveness.
You can dip the shell in a liquid glue and then roll in glitter or any other eye-catching materials.
If you have the time to spare, you can sit with a paintbrush and dab in spots of luminescent paint so that your egg will light up at night-time.
Really, the sky is the limit. There must be a million designs or more to make your Easter eggs the prettiest around, although of course, they will still look extremely attractive just dyed a primary or pastel color and hung on tree branches.
Making your Easter tree
If you have a tree or small shrub in your garden, you can hang the eggs from the branches, using the string you already inserted into your egg-shells.
Wind and weather will take its toll if your tree is in an exposed position.
You may prefer instead to lop a branch of a tree or shrub, preferably one with lots of smaller branches on which to hang your eggs, and one whose buds are starting to open, and bring it indoors, placed in a vase of water to keep it alive.
Place it in a prominent position in your house, where family and guests can see it. Tie your painted eggs on, and that is how to make a German Easter tree.