9,800 eggs and counting: Easter tree in Germany going strong after 46 years
By Kerstin Sopke, The Associated Press – 1 day ago
SAALFELD, Germany — Volker Kraft's apple sapling sported just 18 eggs when he first decorated it for Easter in 1965. Decades later, the sturdy tree is festooned with 9,800 eggs, artfully decorated with everything from sequins to sea shells.
Decking trees with hollowed-out, painted eggs for Easter is popular in Germany, but the 75-year-old retiree's annual creation has become something special. Last year, it drew more than 13,000 visitors.
Kraft needs two weeks and countless trips up and down his ladder to hang the eggs and the task has become a little heavier each year since he began the decorations in 1965.
"I wanted to decorate a tree with Easter eggs for my children," Kraft said.
Kraft started with plastic eggs. Each year, the project grew; he switched to real eggs and enlisted his three children's help in blowing out and painting them.
His daughter, Gabriela Rumrich, says she started painting "simple decorations like flowers" aged four and didn't stop until she was 40. She still remembers her parents' Easter passion fondly.
"I love my hometown, Saalfeld, and that's why I started to paint pictures of the city on to the eggs," she told Associated Press Television News. "First easy ones, then more difficult ones."
Some of Gabriela's creations have been retired from the tree and are now kept in glass cases, safe from the wind and birds.
But there are plenty of eye-catching designs in their place: eggs covered in Baltic Sea shells or in elaborate crochet work, or with elaborate patterns drilled in their shells.
Many are the work of Kraft's wife, Christa, 74, who spends long winter evenings preparing the show.
"I need about one to two hours to crochet one egg depending on the thickness of thread, but also on the amount of beads I use," she said.
Over the years, word of the Krafts' tree has spread well beyond Saalfeld, a pretty eastern town of some 27,000 people nestled in the Saale valley.
The eggs now draw visitors from across Germany. The Krafts have responded to demand by making extra eggs each year to sell as souvenirs for about €5 ($7.10) each.
But there are limits to Volker Kraft's ambitions.
He plans to add another 200 eggs next year, bringing his total to 10,000 — and then stop, if only because he's running out of room to store the mountain of boxes.
Thu 21 Apr, 2011 06:20 pm
Im going to celebrate the old fashion way. I've been invited to attend the man soup pool party in Tampa.
Just shows how little I know!
It's OK then, jcboy, you don't have to go into the details.
Thu 21 Apr, 2011 07:11 pm
Yeah, that happened to me a few years back. It certainly does feel strange
for a couple of years.
It is taking a bit of adjusting, George.
I've found myself thinking back to childhood Ukrainian Easters with family this morning. The traditions, the rituals. (Not all of which I enjoyed at the time, mind. Good Friday, especially, was a very sombre, miserable day.)
But things definitely improved around Easter Sunday!
we go to the egg hunts and boo the little kids that dont find any eggs.
We will be doing nothing. I too recall the sombre nature of the Good Friday commemoration when everything stopped from noon thill three. It was like the twilight zone. The whites would come around to bless the Easter table and drink booze. Ojcez Mickuyn used to get very festive and wed have to walk him back to the rectory. WEd get there and several priests would cut us off and take him off our hands (The neighbors were phoning the poarish that their rector was gooned on Good Friday)
I recall that Saturday was less sombre and Easter Sunday was a very festive day with family dinners and lots of food and treats.
I never got the context at all. 40 days lead-up with putting pennies and dimes in a little cardboard "cleanser" dispenser. Lots of giving up this or that, and then the day of Easter and all bets are off until summer, when we couldnt go into the pool until after ST Josephs day.
When my gramparents dies, the celebrations got less religious. When my parents died , the celebration disppeared pretty much. My kids were never Bunnt=y people and they both hate chocolate .
(I think its a genetic thing linked to good driving alleles). So weve always just treated the Easter season like a big weekend off and lived it as nicely as we could and didnt make fun of all these people who'd get all dressed up in funny, fashionable clothes and parade around parklands and museum grounds or city sidewalks.
Last year I plowed a new field on Easter and that Monday (sat before I go fishing ).
The kids helping me with fibreglassing my Irish boat this weekend, so, unless it rains, well be in a toxic pthalate laden atmosphere putting down fibreglas cloth on the boats thin plywood skin.
Thu 21 Apr, 2011 11:56 pm
07.50 am Good Friday
It is a Holy Day. It is also a holiday with stores closed. In Swedish it is Long Friday. It used to be a very looong day.
Everything was closed, only funeral music in the radio. Things have changed.
We have decorated the house a bit also with witches, colour eggs, we have fish for dinner today.
For Easter children - mostly the girls - dress up as witches and Easter Evening there are big bonfires to send of witches to Bloksberg, in Germay. Of course not the children.
Sunday is a day to go to church.
Just in case msolga missed anything that could happen during the observance of these holidays here are my top 3 tips for Easter:
1. If you hide the eggs remember where you put them.
2. It will be a time for people to come together so look out.
Fri 22 Apr, 2011 12:54 am
Traditionally, we have Easter Fires in many villages around here. (Either on Easter Saturday or Easter Sunday night)
Quite a few are cancelled, most have to be done done on another place then the original - due to the unusual dry (and hot) weather there's a fire warning ...
Fri 22 Apr, 2011 01:15 am
I''m going to church with Jack (the portly one in this picture) and then we'll go pick up George (the thin one) because he doesn't do church - and then we'll go out to lunch.
If my daughter wants to come, she can, if she doesn't want to - she doesn't have to. My son has to work, so I'm a little conflicted- I feel that we should go eat at the restaurant he works at and I would like to so I can be with him at least a little bit on Easter - but Jack is a teetotaler and he balks at going into pubs- and he said that he WON'T on Easter Sunday - usually he will grudgingly, but just has coffee and looks disapprovingly at George and I when we have a glass of wine and/or a beer.
So that's a detail that still has to be worked out.
Then, if it's a pretty day, we'll probably drive down to the coast and take a walk and some pictures - after we drop Jack and George back home - they both can only walk on flat surfaces - Jack will be 89 on May 5th and George will be 87 on Christmas Eve- they're doing good - still hale and hearty and sharp as tacks and some of the best company and biggest laughs I've ever encountered - but they can't do hills and beaches anymore.
I'd do Easter eggs if my kids wanted to - but neither of them care about it as much as I do anymore. I just like the colors and painting , but really, it is sort of a big waste - so I'll just let that go.
Oh yeah - and then later - I'll call my mother.
Fri 22 Apr, 2011 02:45 am
We Christians don't call it Easter-it's Ressurection Sunday. I'm going to church.
The majority of Christians call Easter Easter or a form of pasque after the Hebrew word pesach.
On the other hand it varies in different languages, but to say all Christians use the expression Ressurection Sunday is not correct.
Public libraries are closed here on Sundays as well. And on Saturdays only open for e few hours - if at all. (My university's library, which normally is open until 12 pm, is closed, too as well as on both Easter days.)