A lovely German tradition called Kleppern

Frohe Ostern, which means Happy Easter!

Such a glorious time of year and so much to feel joyous about. Spring has sprung in abundance here in Sindelfingen — the forsythias are the most exuberant shade of yellow, and the daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. I even saw some grape hyacinths this morning.

Good Friday is what the Germans call a “Calm Holiday.” All the shops and businesses were closed, but the restaurants were open. My dear friend, Birgit Schueller wrote to me to share a wonderful German tradition:

“Do you know this tradition? As the church bells are silent on Good Friday in mourning Jesus’ death, the kids and youth of the parish walk the streets at 8am, noon and 6pm making a terrible noise with self-made wooden ‘Instruments’ called Kleppern (basically approx. 10″ x 8″ boxes hanging around their necks on a string with a handle – when the handle is turned a wooden setup inside the boxes create that terrible noise…). They also have a rhyme they repeat all the time telling the people that the bells are silent in mourning and that the kids’ noise is supposed to call people to mass. The last walking session is on Saturday morning at 8am (so, no sleeping in tomorrow either…). Then all the kids meet for a joint breakfast at the parish’s community center before they walk their streets again ringing at the doors to collect donations for the church’s servants and the kids’ and youth’ activities. So, you better be prepared if some kids will walk past your house today making some noise…”

Birgit and Thilo’s children are Alisha (the pretty little girl in the purple shirt) and Colin, (the handsome young man wearing the orange shirt with blue sleeves.)

Birgit then wrote to add the following, along with a link to a short video showing the children walking and making noise:

Back in Duesseldorf where I grew up, we didn’t know this tradition. But in the Southern half of Germany, this tradition is lived quite vividly. I just checked the Internet – there are even online crash courses to learn the procedures. For the kids it’s a lot of fun – especially when the weather plays along nicely as it did today.

Birgit’s husband, Thilo, took a short video. Click here to see the kids in action.

Enjoy some of the sights and holiday happenings from our home to yours: 

 Happiness on a bush. Don’t these blossoms just make you feel giddy?

 Is there anything so fun as dropping those PAAS color tablets into white vinegar?

 He may be a “cool 14,” but not too old to color eggs. Thank goodness.

 This little dude could hardly wait to put his eggs in the cups!

 Such a brilliant shade of chartreuse!

Check out the little love note to me on the bottom right blue egg from my funny honey bunny.

Easter decorations, collected over many years, adorn the old piano in the dining room.


This hand embroidered, appliqued holiday table topper is one of my favorite cherished linens.

Wishing you all a happy, meaningful, heart-felt Easter! 


  1. You are bit ahead of us in the forsythia department, but my daffolils are up & blooming. Well, the display is kinda dessimated right now because I cut a ton of them down to put all over the house. Those yellow daffys are what get my heart pumping for Spring! As a matter of fact, I think that my favorite flower color is yellow.

    I love that German custom! My daughter’s siter-in-law is Greek Orthodox, and they play a game with red-dyed eggs (red symbolizing the blood of Christ). Everyone holds their hard-boiled egg inside their hand, with the tips poking out just above and below your coiled fingers/thumb. You tap your egg onto the top of someone else’s egg, and the “winner” is the person whose egg does not crack. This goes on until there is one surviving egg — no prize, but you do get bragging rights. Another lovely Greek custom is to greet everone on Easter day with “Christos anesi!”, which means “Christ is risen!.

    Your pictures of the boys dying eggs really brought back some memories, and I love your bunny decorations, especially that crisply starched table-topper.

    May all of the blessings of Easter and the rebirth symbolized by Spring come your way!

    Christos anesti!

  2. Pat — Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of some of the Greek Easter traditions. Isn’t it fun to learn what people of different nationalities do to celebrate the holidays? Hope your Easter is hoppy — er, I mean happy! 🙂 (smile)

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