Easter in Austria
Easter in Austria

Flavors of Austria

Everything starts on PALM SUNDAY

The "palms" are actually made from various green branches or shoots (pussy willows, branches of juniper, boxwood, periwinkle, etc.). In some regions, they're decorated with apples, oranges, nuts, colored eggs, pretzels, artificial flowers, little wreaths or multi-colored ribbons. 

- In Innsbruck, the palms are 3 to 5 meters high, decorated with boxwood, ivy, pretzels and apples and crowned by an olive branch; in Thaur and Solbad Hall (Tyrol) they extend past the rooftops. In Kundl, they reach 10 to 12 meters!

Like the maypole and "Prangstangen" (poles decorated with flowers), the palms are the descendants of the tree of life, a magical symbol of the eternal life force that dates back to ancient times. 

When bunnies lay eggs at Easter...

This isn't the opening line of a fairy tale, but rather a charming tradition that delights all Austrian children on Easter morning. 

Rivals of St. Nicholas, rabbits have the magic power to place their gaily-decorated eggs in the garden, in the bottom of an excelsior-lined basket, or to make a multicolored Easter tree out of them. Did you know that the egg, this little miracle of nature, has always been linked to rites and traditions? A symbol of life (like our friend the rabbit, well-known for its reproductive talents) and so a perfect image of springtime, its ideal shape made it a popular gift even in ancient Greece and Egypt. China, Kashmir and central Europe also shared this fascination. In the Middle Ages, eggs were eaten in great quantities. As in ancient Rome, people crushed the shell on their plates to prevent evil spirits from hiding inside. Like meat and dairy products, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Then, blessed on Holy Saturday, they reappeared in force on Easter Sunday. 

Why not decorate your own Easter eggs? It's fun for everyone! Whether hard-boiled or chocolate-filled, they can be adorned with decals or you can write the names of family and friends on them with a crayon. Or decorate them with colored felt and feathers. Or wrap them in candy necklaces or braid. Or finally (and in this case, hollow out the shells) paint them or spray them in gold or silver.

The Easter bunny is a good companion who adapts to every situation. If you have a garden, he'll feel right at home. But the urban rabbit will also make do with a green plant, a few spring flowers or a festive table.

To celebrate Easter as they do in Austria, set off on the egg route...

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