easter eggs colmar

Retreat to the rural French village of Colmar this spring to discover Alsatian Easter activities, folksy markets, and open-air concerts.

Alsatians celebrate Easter just as enthusiastically as they do Christmas. With its ornate gothic churches, preserved medieval history, and uniquely Alsatian spring traditions, the idyllic town of Colmar offers a cultural and festive Easter experience rivaling celebrations throughout Europe. 

During the spring, flowers bloom from Colmar’s pastel terraces, rustic wheelbarrows, and flourishing gardens. The region’s native white stork also returns from its winter in the south. Perched on Colmar’s gingerbread-like structures, the white stork embodies all the symbolism of spring’s new beginnings.

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Holy Week Traditions and Festivities in Colmar

In the weeks leading up to Easter, Colmar welcomes spring with markets, open-air concerts, and traditional festivities. During Holy Week, which immediately precedes Easter Sunday, the revelry ramps up. 

The residents of Colmar organize a thorough spring cleaning of the entire town called Oschterputz, which literally means “Easter dust”. Local councils, children, and volunteers pick up debris around the town to help preserve the region’s lush, natural environment. 

Whilst the deep spring cleaning is taking place, the people of Colmar are also busily preparing for Easter Sunday by baking pastries, decorating eggs, and adorning their terraces and shops. 

Beginning on Palm Sunday, the town’s Holy Week observances officially begin. On Palm Sunday, many Colmar residents and visitors attend a service in one of the town’s medieval churches. When the services end, the church-goers process through the streets holding up their newly blessed yew branches, symbolizing the palms laid at Jesus’s feet upon his entrance into Jerusalem. 

On Easter Friday, Colmar is overtaken by spring merriment, including egg decorating exhibitions, open-air concerts, giant Easter egg hunts, interactive Easter workshops, and Passion plays.

On the night before Easter Sunday, the children of Colmar create nests of leaves and grass in the garden, hoping that the Easter Bunny will leave them goodies during the night.

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As part of Colmar’s Easter activities, the town hosts two markets in the weeks leading up to Easter, one at the Place des Dominicains and one at the Place de l’Ancienne Douane. 

Colmar’s Easter markets feature over 60 carefully selected Alsatian artisans showcasing handmade goods and Easter delicacies. Local farms also bring ducks, sheep, geese, rabbits, goats, chickens, and exotic birds to greet the strolling shoppers.

At the markets, visitors can peruse regionally-sourced plants, beauty products, jewelry, tableware, and ceramics. While shopping, you can indulge in Alsatian wines, craft beers, and charcuterie samplings. Market-goers will also be tempted with delectable European Easter treats like chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, and the Lamala, an icing-painted, lamb-shaped pastry symbolizing the purity of the Easter sacrifice.

Adding to the entertainment, Alsatian musicians perform on the cobblestone streets of the town. During the day, delight in open-air concerts presented by local ensembles. In the evening, wind down with live jazz and classical music played from Colmar’s rooftops. 

Take a detour from the markets and music, to enjoy some iconic French wine-tasting. As the wine capital of Alsace, Colmar is home to many of the region’s independent-wine growers. Enjoy Easter-themed wine tastings of the region’s famed white vintages paired with traditional Easter delicacies. 

When their trip to Colmar comes to an end, visitors will still be shining brightly with the town’s surreal springtime charm. You’ll leave with vibrant memories of the town’s half-timbered homes, idyllic canals, historical marvels, and lovely residents — already planning your return.

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