PA German traditions shared at ‘A Homestead Easter’

Visitors to Daniel Boone Homestead learned about the Easter Hare and natural materials used to dye eggs at A Homestead Easter hosted March 31. Pictured, District Township resident Anne Goda, on the board of the Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead, demonstrated egg dye methods used by Colonial Pennsylvania Germans.
Visitors to Daniel Boone Homestead learned about the Easter Hare and natural materials used to dye eggs at A Homestead Easter hosted March 31. Pictured, District Township resident Anne Goda, on the board of the Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead, demonstrated egg dye methods used by Colonial Pennsylvania Germans. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media
Anya Groff, 4, Birdsboro, came out with her grandparents Jean and Kirk Levan, Birdsboro, to A Homestead Easter to learn a little about the history of Easter. Anya got her hands messy dyeing her own egg.
Anya Groff, 4, Birdsboro, came out with her grandparents Jean and Kirk Levan, Birdsboro, to A Homestead Easter to learn a little about the history of Easter. Anya got her hands messy dyeing her own egg. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media

Friends of the Daniel Boone Homestead in Exeter Township hosted “A Homestead Easter” on Saturday, March 31.

Visitors to the Homestead learned about Pennsylvania German Easter traditions, many that continue today.

Anya Groff, 4, Birdsboro, came out with her grandparents Jean and Kirk Levan, Birdsboro, to A Homestead Easter to learn a little about the history of Easter. Anya got her hands messy dyeing her own egg.

“See how things were done a long time ago,” said her grandmother Jean. “Just to have fun. And it’s a nice day. Take advantage of the nice weather.”

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Anne Goda of District Township, board member of the Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead, explained to visitors how the idea of the Easter Bunny was introduced to colonial America by the Pennsylvania Germans with the Easter Hare, or Oschter Haws.

Goda also demonstrated what natural materials Pennsylvania German families used to dye eggs, such as red beets, tumeric, red cabbage and onion skins.

The Friends of the Homestead hope that visitors “learn a little bit about their heritage and how things were done in the past as well as the fact that we can get some nice bright colors from nature and not from our chemical additives,” said Goda. “The third family who lived on the Boone Homestead were Pennsylvania Germans and so we interpret Pennsylvania German heritage here in home furnishings, in culture, in socialization. The Pennsylvania Germans were highly decorative people and they had a lot of wonderful traditions that we have picked up over time.”

Goda said the Pennsylvania Germans brought with them the tradition of the Easter Hare to Germantown as early as 1680 and since then the Easter Bunny has become a symbol of Easter.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.