Easter in Austria

    Visit one of Austria's many colourful Easter markets and discover unique (and curious) regional traditions.

    Easter in Austria brings out more colours than you could imagine. The various Easter Markets invite you to experience unique regional traditions under the blanket of the delightful spring sunshine, and a grand selection of concerts fill the evenings with musical delight.

    Burgenland and Lower Austria

    Painted easter eggs

    Carinthia and Styria

    Eastermarket in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee / Klagenfurt

    Upper Austria

    Eastermarket in Schärding

    SalzburgerLand and Tirol


    Vorarlberg and Vienna



    Ostermarkt, Schloss Schönbrunn

    Easter Traditions in Austria

    Austria is colourful in terms of its culture, cuisine, customs and traditions all year round, but especially at Eastertime. What's more, each region has its very own special regional characteristics around this religious festival. Read on to find out more...


    Mount of Olives and Passion of Christ Choral Commemoration

    Every year on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday it's time for the Grossarl “Mount of Olives and Passion of Christ Choral Commemoration”, a very unique event which looks back on a long tradition. From 8pm on Maundy Thursday to 4am on Good Friday the farmers of the area sing old Passiontide tunes on the hourly, and on the next day it’s the townsmen to take the vocal stage. In their singing they tell of the events surrounding Jesus’s crucifixion and rejoice in the Resurrection.

    Women in traditional costumes and the finished "Palmbuschen"


    "Weihfeuertragen" (carrying consecrated fire)

    Children from East Styria get up bright and early on Holy Saturday before the Easter dishes are consecrated, to be "incense bearers". They congregate with their "glow pots" - little metal buckets with long handles - near the church, where the priest then blesses a burning fire. The children place hot coals from the consecrated fire into the buckets, to light the tinder they are carrying. They then carry their "glow pots" with the consecrated fire from house to house. The custom of delivering the sacred fire dates back to early times when there were no matches or lighters, so people couldn't afford to let their hearths go out and had to ensure that they kept the fire going at all times. Only once a year, on Good Friday, did they let their fires go out deliberately. On Holy Saturday the Eastern Styrians would light the heart fire with the consecrated fire from the parish, but only the children who arrived first at the houses with the fire would be rewarded with special gifts.

    Easter traditions in Styria

    East Tirol

    Ram parade in Virgen

    Every year on the first Saturday after Easter colourful festivities take place in Virgen, East Tirol. In the “Ram Procession” a ram is paraded from Virgen to Obermauern adorned with flowers and colourful ribbons, and followed by a large crowd of people. The procession leads to the pilgrimage church of “Maria Schnee” in Obermauern where a solemn service is carried out. The animal is taken three times around the alter and is raffled off after the service. The proceeds from the auction go towards the pilgrimage church. The origins of this tradition goes back to the Thirty Years’ War, when the plague raged through the area, so the inhabitants took a pilgrimage to Lavant to escape it, where the ram was solemnly scarified. (website in German only)



    The Tresdorf Passion Play

    The annual passion play in Tresdorf, Carinthia, is full to the brim with emotion but very little dialogue. You’ll find the protagonists of Christ, Pilate, Herod, Simon of Cyrene, Judas and the Archangel Gabrial. The amateur actors tell the story of Christ from the point of view of the ordinary people from that time. The performance starts on Maundy Thursday, when all participants meet at the “Krassnigmühle”. Ulrich’s Kirchl church (the highest point of the village) is the next stop and becomes the Mount of Olives, where Jesus travels with his three disciples only to be betrayed by Judas. After the flagellation and thorn crowning, the characters return to their starting point. On Good Friday Jesus carries a wooden cross and returns to the church, where he lingers and prays for around quarter of an hour. According to legend, performing the Passion Play will protect the village from floods and epidemics. The simplicity and silent gestures of the Passion Play ensures that they attract many visitors back year after year.

    Eastertime in Carinthia

    Lower Austria

    Mostviertel "Godnküpfi" (godparents' day)

    Around Easter, Catholics in the Mostviertler region celebrate “Godntag”. On this day, the godparents (called “Godn” in this area) pay a visit to their godchildren, bringing them "Godnküpfi", a sweet delicacy made from tender yeast dough, artfully crafted and in the shape of a croissant. The sweet delicacy is an integral part of the Easter culinary tradition, and is topped with a coin and presented together with the Easter eggs, to be eaten on Easter Sunday alongside the traditional Easter ham. (website in German only)

    Mostviertler Godnküpfi / Mostviertel


    Admire the Easter eggs from Stinatz

    At Easter, the women from the area of Stinatz in southern Burgenland decorate the colourful Easter eggs with sharp knives, scratching intricate engravings into the shells, which have been treated with special colours, making them more resistant for this process. This ancient tradition has been passed down from the Croats in the region for more than 100 years. Traditionally, these Easter egg decorators used mainly red, purple or black-coloured eggs, which they decorated with traditional floral ornaments or religious motifs. Today, however, they are a lot more colourful and imaginative. You can admire these small works of art if you visit southern Burgenland over Easter.

  (website in German only)

    Painted easter eggs