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A popular way to display decorated Easter eggs is to hang them on tree branches placed in a vase.

A popular way to display decorated Easter eggs is to hang them on tree branches placed in a vase. (Photos by Michael Abrams / S&S)

A popular way to display decorated Easter eggs is to hang them on tree branches placed in a vase.

A popular way to display decorated Easter eggs is to hang them on tree branches placed in a vase. (Photos by Michael Abrams / S&S)

Shoppers check out the goods at the Easter egg market in Seligenstadt, Germany.

Shoppers check out the goods at the Easter egg market in Seligenstadt, Germany. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

At Easter, the common egg - best known as something eaten for breakfast - can become an exquisite piece of art.

To see for yourself, head to one of the many Ostereiermärkte - Easter egg markets - that pop up around Germany this time of year. You can admire what a talented, steady hand can do with an egg.

There are wax-coated eggs with designs etched into them, and eggs covered with colorful beads. Some have lace worked around them, and others have been hollowed out and perforated. Some have folklore designs painted on them, while others are adorned with Easter bunnies.

The art is not just applied to chicken eggs, either. There are decorated goose eggs and duck eggs as well.

Popular this time of year are eggs with the Lord's Prayer written on them. This might not sound like too big of a feat when painting an ostrich egg, but try fitting it on a quail egg. Like we said, talented and steady hands.

Not all of the eggs we saw at a recent market in Seligenstadt, Germany, were originally edible, either. There were also wooden eggs and eggs made of stone, ceramic and porcelain. (You have another chance to see them at the Seligenstadt monastery this weekend.)

As you can imagine, this art comes at a price, and there are avid egg collectors. True, you can pick up a beautiful egg for as little as 6 euros, but be prepared to shell out (pun intended) up to 1,000 euros for one decorated with gold.

The eggs make nice gifts for family and friends, and are unique souvenirs of your European tour.

And hanging from pussywillow or forsythia branches in a vase, they are a cheerful dash of color to brighten the house during the last days of winter.

Easter egg markets

Feb. 19-20

Alsfeld, Stadthalle

Braunfels, Haus des Gastes

Ludwigsburg, Schlosspark

Mannheim, Luisenpark

Maulbronn, Kloster

Seligenstadt, Kloster

Feb. 26-27

Erlangen, Gemeindehaus am Bohlenplatz

Frankfurt, Dominikanerkloster

Metzingen, Festkeller (also Feb. 25)

Schwetzingen, Schloss

March 5-6

Andechs, Kloster (also March 4)

Friedberg, Stadthalle

Michelstadt, Odenwaldhalle

Neckarsulm-Obereisesheim, Festhalle bei der Schule

Otzberg/Hering, Veste

March 12-13

Lampertheim, Altrheinhalle

Ostheim/Rhön, Kirchenburg

Otzberg/Hering, Veste

Ulm, Haus der Begegnung

March 19-20

Cologne, Messe, Grosser Rheinsaal

Neu-Anspach, Hessenpark

March 27-28

Otzberg/Hering, Veste


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