From the Franconian Switzerland, the custom of decorating Easter fountain dates. On Holy Saturday public village wells are decorated with painted eggs and other embellishments to Osterbrunnen in preparation for Easter.

Oral traditions report the first of a Osterbrunnen in Aufseß around the year 1909. The reasons for the emergence of the custom of the Easter fountain adorning in Franconian Switzerland are unclear. In addition to Christian interpretations will often explain the lack of water called the Franconian Switzerland, through which the water came up a particularly high priority. Also, the depth, usually performed in community work cleaning the important for drinking water supply wells and springs may have played a role in the development of the custom from the dirt of the autumn and winter.

Due to the wanton destruction of jewelery originally painted in elaborate handmade blown chicken eggs have been replaced by plastic eggs in many communities.

  • 3.1 Claudia Schillinger: Franconian Osterbrunnen
  • 3.2 Thuringian source cults with Karl Weinhold
  • 3.3 Haselünne

Osterbrunnen in Franconian Switzerland

Historical Background

As early as the 1920s saw the first ( mis) interpretations of Osterbrunnen as remnants of Slavic and Wendish " pagan traditions ". In the 1930s, these ideas were adopted by the regional Nazi propaganda and partly reinterpreted the Osterbrunnen the " Germanic " tradition with ancient roots in the " source cult of our forefathers ." Probably as a result of the alleged Slavic origins and but compared to today relatively low spread the Osterbrunnen less attention and use as an agent of Nazi propaganda as other customs. After the Second World War, the importance of the fountain fell sharply by modern water supply systems. The custom of Osterbrunnen therefore threatened more and more forgotten. From the year 1952, the Nuremberg physician and researcher Dr. Art Castle man took up this question, and was involved with his wife for the continued existence of the custom. Originally only known in the Franconian Switzerland, the paschal well dressings has spread over large parts of Upper Franconia since the 1980s. Paschal bus tours of tourist groups to the Osterbrunnen the Franconian Switzerland now constitute an important source of revenue for local and regional tourism and catering company dar.

Places with Osterbrunnen

The Osterbrunnen usually remain decorated after Easter up to two weeks. During this time, the places with considered particularly beautiful Osterbrunnen are popular tourist destinations. Particularly well as in Heiligenstadt or Bieberbach are now considered tourist attractions that are visited by buses from Munich, Dresden and other cities. Counts have shown that the Holy City is driven in a day of about 80 buses. The Franconia's largest fountain located in Bieberbach Egloffstein and got 2001 on account of his fountain jewelry from 11,108 hand-painted eggshells an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Easter egg painting in Bieberbach (2004)

Osterbrunnen eggs with Christ motifs ( 2005)

Osterbrunnen in Tiefenpölz (2009)

Osterbrunnen in rescuers (2012 )

Paschal decorated fountain outside the Franconian Switzerland

The custom of decorating wells during the Easter period, has also been introduced outside of the Franconian Switzerland. There are today Osterbrunnen in Greater Bamberg, Steigerwald, in Altmühltherme francs, in Saxony, in the Palatinate and Saarland.

The tradition has also spread to Upper Bavaria, Swabia and the Upper Palatinate. Thus, in the Swabian Schechingen each year an Easter fountain with over 11,000 eggs are considered, which has become in Baden- Württemberg to a known starting point. Since 2006, decorated in the Emsland Haselünne fountain.

In the Upper Palatinate Sulzbach -Rosenberg 2005, the town fountain was decorated with 16,500 eggs, which indicates the root region of Franconia lost in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Theories on the origin of Osterbrunnen

Recent research has shown that it is a conscious traditions - creation in the late 19th or early 20th century, when the Frankish Osterbrunnen. The origin of the Easter wells is expected to be around 1909 in the small community Aufseß ( Franconian Switzerland ). Despite numerous studies to date have not provided sound evidence for an ancient origin of the custom or connections with other, older traditions of the region are found. Nevertheless dive into information leaflets, on websites of Osterbrunnen communities in tourist guides or by some self-appointed local historians to always historically and scientifically untenable theories and conjectures to a pagan or medieval origin of the Easter fountain.

Claudia Schillinger: Franconian Osterbrunnen

In the first time in 1997 and published in the foot attributable to an emerged in the early 1980s authorization work of Bamberger trainee teacher Claudia Schillinger picture book Franconian Osterbrunnen is alleged that the Osterbrunnen went to " pagan origins " back. Claudia Schillinger suggests the Osterbrunnen as " remnants Wendish superstition ". They shall be based on obsolete existing theories of the early 20th century to the survival of Slavic traditions in Upper Franconia, with a single high medieval source, in the Franconian " squire " Mahkorn called in a decree that " wells and springs for Easter with fresh [ spring ?] Green should be decorated, because the spring comes " Schillinger tried to prove that there was even then Osterbrunnen. However, they made ​​no effort to clarify the historical context for the described in the document event. Therefore, it remains unclear what event it was, whether it took place several times, which were well decorated, or whether the action was involved in other activities or custom events. For the fact that other historical records of the decoration of wells in Upper Franconia almost completely absent, Schillinger has her own explanation. The custom was suppressed by Christianity and the Church, and therefore historically " hard to comprehend ".

Thuringian source cults with Karl Weinhold

Another, by proponents of the pagan origins of Easter fountain cited source is the published in 1898 under the title The Adoration of the sources in Germany essay by Karl Weinhold. Weinhold tells that it was " in Thuringia to the main characters of the old fountain cult to clean the fountain and decorate with fresh greenery. The cleaning carried out by Weinhold the young women of the village and prayer and song, and no man was allowed to be present. By sunrise, the cleaning had to be terminated. The well was then garlanded and adorned the fairground. Afterwards, the congregation gathered to dance and play. " Weinhold calls in this article but neither exact locations or the date where and when this should be done by him Signposted, making his descriptions are largely criticized as a separate speculation from hearsay. Weinhold mentioned possibly garnishing of wells in Thuringia, without mentioning the term Osterbrunnen.


Without refer to a tradition that led the city marketing department of the city Haselünne 2006 the custom of adorning of wells and pumps in the city: " In the streets and squares within the city Haselünne, there is still a surprising number of wells and pumps to see. High yield wells have always been the source of life. If it dried up, it was the bad people in earlier times. Modern technology has pushed back this classic watering holes. Who still thinks while looking at a fountain about which of vital importance it once had for the people. With the Easter season to decorate the Haselünner pumps and wells are awakened from their slumber and residents and visitors are reminded that they were once the source of life for this city. "