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Colorful customs and calls for peace - Easter in Saxony

The traditionally dressed Sorbian Easter riders proclaim the Easter message on horseback according to an old custom / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
The traditionally dressed Sorbian Easter riders proclaim the Easter message on horseback according to an old custom / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

Church services, customs, calls for peace - Saxony celebrates Easter in many different ways. Sorbian Easter riders, baptisms, Easter bonfires and more.

Worship services, customs, calls for peace - people in Saxony celebrated Easter in very different ways at the weekend. In mild temperatures, tens of thousands lined the fields and country roads in eastern Saxony on Easter Sunday to see the Sorbian Easter riders. Protestant and Catholic churches were well filled, and it was not only Christians who fetched Easter water and gathered around the Easter bonfire. Adults were baptized during the Easter Vigil - including in Dresden's Frauenkirche.

The traditional Easter and seed riding attracted tens of thousands to Lusatia - and many hikers, walkers and families to the countryside. According to police reports on Easter Monday, around 49,500 onlookers lined the processions with a total of 1,475 horses in the Sorbs' settlement area north-east of Dresden and in Ostritz south of Görlitz. There were no disruptions, according to reports. Only other road users needed "strong nerves" due to "considerable" restrictions in favor of the customs.

In the bilingual Kamenz-Bautzen-Hoyerswerda triangle, young people and men have been carrying the message of Christ's resurrection on decorated horses from their home church around the cemetery and fields to the next village on Easter Sunday for centuries - in tails and top hats, singing and praying to the ringing of bells, with crosses, church flags and the statue of the Risen Christ. The roots of the custom go back to pre-Christian times, when it was believed that riding around the fields could protect the young seeds from the evil eye.

Almost summer-like temperatures on Saturday and Easter Sunday also enticed people to go on excursions - hiking in the rocky landscape of Saxon Switzerland, walking in the woods or picnicking and hunting for Easter eggs in gardens and parks. There were "masses" of people out and about in Saxon Switzerland, as a police spokesman said. In the cities, open-air cafés and beer gardens were populated and wineries along the Elbe between Diesbar and Dresden-Pillnitz served wine - even though Sahara dust obscured the sun.

On Saturday, several hundred people followed the call of an initiative "Leipzig against war" and marched through the center of the trade fair city. On banners and signs, they demanded peace and negotiations for Ukraine and Gaza and protested against armament and arms deliveries to war zones. According to the police, a peak of 350 people took part and there were no disruptions. An Easter march in Chemnitz had already united people on Good Friday, with 215 people taking part according to police.

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