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The Easter Holidays in German

In a previous Yabla lesson, we discussed Easter traditions in Germany. Today, let's talk about the German names of the main Easter holidays. Easter, a Christian commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, is called Ostern in German. It's a neuter noun, but is usually written and spoken without a definite or indefinite article, in the same way that we don't usually say "the Easter" or "an Easter" in English.


Easter is a week-long religious celebration with major and minor days of celebration. This week is called Karwoche ("Holy Week"). The term has nothing to do with automobiles, but stems rather from the now-obsolete 17th-century German word kara, which means "grief, sorrow, or lamentation." The first major day of celebration is Palm Sunday:


Am Palmsonntag steht eine große Messe auf dem Programm.

On Palm Sunday, a large mass is on the schedule.

Captions 9-10, Papst Franziskus: Der neue Papst hat viel zu tun

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The next four Easter days are not celebrated and not official holidays in Germany: Ostermontag, Osterdienstag, and Ostermittwoch (Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday, and Easter Wednesday). Maundy Thursday, also commonly called Holy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper of Christ: Gründonnerstag, literally "Green Thursday." This day is not an official holiday in Germany, so Cettina and Sabine can still go out dancing without fear of Tanzverbot:


Da wir heute erst Gründonnerstag haben, gehen wir jetzt eine Runde tanzen und verabschieden uns von euch.

Since it's only Holy Thursday, we'll now go dance a bit and say goodbye to you.

Captions 71-72, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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The next Easter day is an official holiday in Germany, Karfreitag or Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Christ.


Der Karfreitag ist ein Fasten- und Abstinenztag.

Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence.

Caption 65, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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The next day, Holy Saturday, is called Karsamstag in German, and is meant in Christian theology to mark the descent of Christ into Hell. It is not an official holiday in Germany either.


The last day of Easter is the most important: Easter Sunday, called Ostersonntag or simply Ostern. This is when, according to Christian belief, Christ was resurrected from the dead. It's surprisingly not an official holiday in Germany (except for Brandenburg), because most shops are closed and most people don't go to work on Sundays anyway. Official work-free holidays are decided in Germany on the state rather than national level.


Der Ostersonntag gehört zu den Höhepunkten der Osterfeierlichkeiten bei den Katholiken.

Easter Sunday is one of the highlights of Easter celebrations among Catholics.

Captions 16-17, Papst Franziskus: Der neue Papst hat viel zu tun

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The day after Easter is an official holiday in Germany and is commonly called Ostermontag, although the religious Easter Monday took place the week before.


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and watch Cettina und Sabine: Ostern and Ostern mit Eva to get a full overview of the Easter holidays in Germany. Happy holidays from Yabla!

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Expressing "Anyway" in German

There are several ways to express "anyway" in German, depending on the function that the word is supposed to have. There are four main words to know, but you'd be surprised at which words can take on a similar meaning. 

Let's start with examples in which "anyway" has a confirming function, which can be expressed with ehsowieso, or ohnehin. In the following sentences, there is a match in what is going on, or something may already be the case.



Ist das aber kalt! und schwimmen kann ich sowieso nicht.

Is that ever cold! and I can't swim anyway.

Captions 35-36, Piggeldy und Frederick - Der Himmel

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Ich hab ja auch eh nichts mehr zu verlieren.

I have nothing left to lose anyway.

Caption 11, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung

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...aber da ich ohnehin lieber ein Marmeladenbrot essen möchte,

...but since I'd rather have a slice of bread with marmalade anyway,

werd' ich jetzt rübergehen zum Brot und mir eine Scheibe Brot schneiden. 

I am going go over to the bread and cut myself a slice of bread. 

Captions 5-6, Jenny beim Frühstück - Teil 2

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However, eh and sowieso can't always be used. For sentences in which "anyway" has a contradictory meaning (and could potentially be replaced with "despite that" or "nevertheless"), trotzdem is the word you're looking for. 


Die Hühner legten aber trotzdem weiter Eier

But the chickens kept laying eggs anyway,

und sogar mehr als sonst.

and even more than usual.

Captions 17-18, Cettina und Sabine - Ostern

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Hätte ich voll Angst vor, aber würde ich trotzdem machen.

I would be totally afraid of it, but I would do it anyway.

Caption 51, Free Birds - Interview mit Nora Tschirner & Rick Kavanian

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There is then also a conversational "anyway," which various words in German provide in particular contexts. As you will notice right away, these words are not always or even usually translated as "anyway," but the equivalent phrase uses it to express the intended meaning. 


Gut. Und wo befindet sich Bayern überhaupt?

Good. And where is Bavaria located anyway?

Caption 10, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte - Bayern

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Wer braucht schon Hollywood?

Who needs Hollywood anyway?

Caption 1, Berlinale - Schauspieler Jürgen Vogel

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Wie alt ist er denn?

How old is he anyway?

Caption 8, Ein Herz für Tiere - Tierschutzhof und Border Collie

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Na, jedenfalls, arbeiten wir mit sechs Kameras.

Well, anyway, we'll be working with six cameras.

Caption 34, Otto Waalkes - Hier kommt Otto!

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Na ja, wie auch immer, also, wie Sie das mit der Kerze hingekriegt haben, das war... fantastisch.

Well, anyway, so, however you did that with the candle, that was... fantastic.

Caption 13, Weihnachtsmann gesucht - Bist du verliebt?

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Further Learning
You can find many examples of sowieso, eh, ohnehin, and trotzdem being used on Yabla German. When you see one, consider why the chosen word is being used. When you find yourself using the word "anyway," you can consider which German word would fit the particular meaning you are conveying.

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