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Wells at Easter

Easter is the most important celebration in the Christian calendar and Easter Sunday should be a day of happiness and celebration, because it is on this day that we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead and the end of Lent. At this time everybody decorates the wells in the towns, with lots of different things including eggshells. As it was said that the water at Easter time possessed great powers, and that eggs were an essential staple food to have.
The Easter water supposedly had hidden powers, for example, children who were baptised at Easter were said to become really clever. People also believed that drinking the water could heal diseases and if you stored it in your house it would keep bugs and insects away.
Before there was a central water supply, it was important for the people in the villages to have easy access to water, this was usually in the form of a large cistern or natural reservoir. Due to the geological characteristics of Franconian Switzerland, (deep valleys and high mountains) the water always collected itself at the bottom of the valleys. The springs also tended to be in the valleys, too, which meant people had to carry their water a long way. To solve this, holes were drilled down to reach the ground water from the towns. A well house (sides and roof) usually protected the wells, which were worth protecting.
The exact origins and dates of the well decorating are unknown, but some people think it dates back to the Germanic times. The tradition gained a renewed importance in Aufseß in 1909, and the decorating of the wells is still kept a tradition today.

Tradition today

Before the well can be decorated, it has to be cleaned; Brunnenputzen, after that the well is decorated. Painted eggshells are often used to decorate the wells, as well as colourful streamers. Garlands made of spruce branches are wound around the well or made into crowns and other designs. In some areas real flowers are also used as decoration.The decoration on the wells is usually displayed from Good Friday until two weeks after Easter. The well in Hollfeld though is decorated one week before Easter