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Easter Fountains

For easter, fountains and wells are being decorated with a lot of effort and patience

Easter Fountain in Franconian SwitzerlandAt the end of a grey wintertime everybody is longing for colour. The first blossoms of crocuses and forsythias are a real comfort then but nature does not have much more to offer by easter. So it is really uplifting to find easter fountains in the villages and towns of Bavaria – they are blurs of colour amidst an otherwise still pale landscape spreading hope that warmer times may be ahead. Easter fountains can be found especially in Franconian Switzerland but other regions in Bavaria have them too. The fountains and wells are being decorated with artfully painted eggs, fir and boxwood garlands and with ribbons. If you want to see one of them you have to hurry up because they are only shown between Good Friday (a few towns start on Palm Sunday) until two weeks after Easter Sunday.

It cannot be said for sure where the tradition of the easter fountains comes from but in the water-scarce region of the Franconian Switzerland fountains have always been very important. That is why many suspect that the custom goes back to the little village of Aufseß where there is proof of an easter fountain that had first been decorated back in 1909. Whether this was done as an expression of thankfulness for the essential water or whether it was done for touristic purposes cannot be said with certainty. Fact is that many towns cleaned their fountains for easter and it looks like Aufseß used this as an opportunity to also embellish their well.

Nowadays cleaning is still the prelude to the decorations. The adornments are mainly made by women who start many weeks before to blow out and paint chicken and goose eggs. They occasionally create little works of art, painting egg shells with ornaments, easter or landscape scenes. Most towns that have an easter well stick to using natural eggs for their decorations but these are very sensitive so that each year new ones must be prepared. Some towns have therefore changed to using plastic ones.

Easter eggsA town like Bieberach – proud two time winner of the Guiness Book World Record for the world's largest easter fountain – refrains from plastic, of course, even though they need more than 12.000 eggs each year for their wonderfully dressed well. Some eggs crack already during the decoration process others because of bad weather and still others because they are deliberately destroyed by rowdies. These hard conditions however do not keep other towns from trying compete with Bieberach such as Sulzbach-Rosenberg in the Bavarian Jura where they managed to secure the world record for one year when they put up an easter fountain with no less than 16.000 eggs. However, they could not hold on to their victory because by the following year mice had destroyed most of the eggs.

In Bavaria, Franconia is the region with the most easter wells. In Franconian Switzerland there are almost 200 towns with easter fountains. Organized bus tours as well as bike and hike routes are being offered which lead tourists to the dressed wells. Those interested in such a tour should contact the regional tourist information offices (see addresses below). Another region with many easter fountains is the Allgäu. Bad Wörishofen claims to be the place with the most easter fountains in one town – there are eleven there.

For more information on easter wells and tours leading to them please contact the following regional tourist information offices:

Franconian Tourist Board
Wilhelminenstraße 6
90461 Nuremberg

Phone: +49 (0)911 - 94 15 10
Fax: +49 (0)911 - 94 15 11 0

Tourist Center Franconian Switzerland
Oberes Tor 1
91320 Ebermannstadt

Phone: +49 (0)9191 - 86 10 54
Fax: +49 (0)9191 - 86 10 58

Allgäu GmbH
Allgäuer Straße 1
87435 Kempten

Phone: +49 (0)8323 - 80 25 93 1
Fax: +49 (0)831 - 57 53 73 3

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