Across the border in Germany, Easter traditions
include chocolate, but Germans also bring fire into the celebration. On Easter
weekend, large bonfires are lit across the country and Germans gather to eat,
drink and socialise. The bonfires mark the start of spring and come from pagan
traditions which said that everything the fire’s light touched would be safe
from harm. Old Christmas trees are even used as firewood.
In some regions, you’ll find the Osterräderlauf, or Easter wheel race. Here, a wooden barrel is
stuffed with straw, set alight and rolled down a hill, adding even more fanfare
to the bonfire tradition.
For German fanfare, the Passion Play can’t be beaten. In 1633, a
plague was sweeping Europe.
Residents in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau promised to perform a play if they were
spared which, miraculously, they were.
For almost 400
years, residents have kept their promise, performing plays during Easter time
all about the life and death of Jesus. About 2,000 people take part in the
Guests can watch
this huge production as part of a land journey from Vienna to Zurich or Prague
to Munich, or even part of a river cruise, taking in sights along the Danube or
Rhine rivers and visiting Oberammergau along the way.