We are wishing a happy holiday to everyone celebrating Easter today!
Accompanying pictures we made at the Easter market at Freyung in the center of Vienna (which will be open until 6th of April), we decided to write something about Austrian Easter traditions and general Easter customs. Our sources were several of our Austrian friends, and for some information, we researched online. Austria is a predominantly Catholic country and they have a lot of traditions and customs for Easter.
All about the egg
There are many theories why eggs symbolize Easter. In Pagan times, the egg was regarded as a symbol of life, fertility, and rebirth. The belief was appropriated in Christianity, where egg stands for the empty tomb of Jesus – the egg appears as the stone of the tomb, and yet bird can hatch out of it. The egg serves as a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus and was painted in red for centuries, in memory of Jesus’s bloodshed at the cross.
In Austria, just like in most other countries, some eggs are boiled and then dyed, and the other used merely for decoration, are blown out and then decorated and usually hung on Palm Katzen – the twigs of sallow. You can see the picture of these twigs bellow, which we made on Brunnenmarkt, during WW Instameet. A friend told us that most people buy the twigs to use them as decoration. In addition, the religious people take them to the church on Palm Sunday (the Sunday one week before Easter Sunday) where they are blessed to commemorate the public appearance of Jesus in Jerusalem. Churches play a big part in a lot of countries, so it’s vital that people show their support. Many people will visit the church during Easter to show their support, some will even donate to the church. Most of the bigger churches even allow text in church donations. This financial help supports the church and ensures that all maintenance can be funded. As they play such a big part in the community, it’s important that people look out for their local church or religious center.
Egg Hunt and Easter Bunny
Egg hunt is a very popular Easter activity for children. It is usually chocolate eggs that are “hidden” by the Easter bunny. Why the bunny and the egg? There are many theories concerning this custom which started in the 17th century in Germany. One of them is that rabbits were chosen because they, just like the eggs, stand as symbols of fertility.
Easter Sunday is the day when religious people stop observing Lent and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by feasting on diverse special dishes made of meat, dairies, and all other ingredients which were prohibited during Lent. Osterpinze (a sort of sweet bread) and Osterlamm (sweet pastry in the form of a lamb, which is usually given to children) are typical pastries savored for Easter. In some parts of Austria, you will see people with baskets filled with Osterjause – regional specialties made of meat (such as different types of sausages, roasted pork, cooked ham…), horseradish, colored eggs, and bread, thoughtfully prepared for the holiday.
In Austria, gifts are exchanged for Easter. The most popular gift is an organic colored egg (which is done handmade, only few people choose to buy them already colored in the supermarkets), followed by chocolate bunnies, eggs, and other sweets. Of course, it’s not just Austria that exchanges gifts at Easter time. Multiple countries and religions do this too. For example, some Christians will purchase or give each other bracelets with a cross on. Not only does this show your strong faith, but it also remembers that Jesus was crucified on the cross and was later resurrected. Easter is an important time for a lot of Christians who celebrate Jesus’ life. By wearing a cross bracelet, they can be proud of their religion as they wear it on their wrist. That’s just one example of a gift that could be exchanged at Easter.
We would love to hear how is Easter celebrated in your city!
Have a beautiful day!
Una and Isi
Thank you for stopping by!