At nearly every Ostermarkt, or Easter market, you are sure to find a magnificently decorated Osterbrunnen, or Easter fountain. These public wells and fountains are transformed before Easter into an Osterbrunnen with beautifully decorated eggs, arches of evergreen, garlands, paper ribbons and spring flowers. The Verein, or local club, is typically responsible for the annual Brunnen putzen, or fountain cleaning that takes place each year. After the cleaning, the club also handles the design, decoration, and transformation of the well. Many villages will include the local schools in the crafting of eggs for the Osterbrunnen. They come in all shapes and sizes, but are all unique and special.
This German tradition began in the 20th century in the Franconian Switzerland region of Upper Franconia in northern Bavaria. The first documented Osterbrunnen was in Aufseß in 1909. The tradition of decorating a public well or fountain honors water, which is essential to life and also Easter, which is a celebration of renewed life.
There are a few locations in Germany that attract tons of tourists every year to see their Osterbrunnen. Wells in Heiligenstadt, Bieberbach and Schechingen are among the most famous. In 2001, the Osterbrunnen in Bieberbach won a world record with 11,108 hand-painted eggs on their fountain.
Keep your eyes peeled for these beautifully decorated wells during the Easter season. They will typically be kept on display until two weeks after Easter.