Easter 2018 and 2019
Easter in Austria is a holiday that the country celebrates each year.
|2018||1 Apr||Sun||Easter Sunday|
|2 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
|2019||22 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This historic event, although it occurred nearly two thousand years ago, is still relevant to many today. Although Easter is on a Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Monday are also observed with Easter Monday being recognised as a public holiday.
There are a number of aspects to consider when celebrating this occasion in Austria.
The story of Easter is the culmination of the life of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus came into the world as God and man at the same time. His purpose on earth was to deliver the world from its sins. In order to do that, Jesus had to fulfill the Law of God perfectly, and it is found in the Old Testament. Jesus successfully fulfilled everything that needed to be done while He was on earth.
The Gospel accounts in the New Testament focus numerous chapters on the last week in the life of Jesus. One of those days was Good Friday. On this day, Jesus was convicted of claiming to be God and the Messiah by the Jewish people. His sentence was enacted by the Roman government, which was ruling the Jews and most of the civilized world at that time. Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross. Although it was a common form of execution back for criminals in Roman times, Jesus was innocent. Isaiah 53 thoroughly describes what would happen to the promised Messiah, and the Gospels declare that Jesus Christ has fulfilled each prophecy.
According to the Bible, when Jesus was nailed to that cross, all of the sins of the world were placed on Him. After being on the cross for six hours and suffering immense pain, Jesus died. Jesus was placed in a tomb cut out of stone not far from where He died. According to Matthew 27, Jewish leaders received permission from the Roman governor to place soldiers in front of the entrance to the tomb in order to prevent Jesus’ disciples from stealing His body. Not only that, but a large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. However, it was common in those days to have a stone cover the entrance of a tomb to prevent foul smells from permeating the air.
On Easter Sunday, some women who had cared for the needs of Jesus and His disciples came to the tomb in order to anoint the body with precious spices. They did not do this on Saturday because it was the Jewish day of rest. Therefore, they waited until the next day to visit the tomb. According to the Gospel of Matthew 28:2, an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone and declared that Jesus has risen from the dead. Just after this, they saw Jesus Himself. The women and other disciples saw Jesus alive after He had died on Easter Sunday.
The Bible teaches that as a result of Jesus being raised from the dead, people can have their sins forgiven and be reconciled to God. This is why Easter is such a big celebration to Austrian Christians. They are celebrating the fact that they have been saved from their sins by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Many Austrians are Roman Catholic. This dates back hundreds of years when the Gospel of Jesus Christ first came to natives. Although there has been changes throughout the years in terms of governing bodies, wars and even a reformation within the Christian faith, Austrians continue to maintain their Roman Catholic faith. While there is special focus on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, many Catholic Austrians have been preparing themselves for this time weeks before at the beginning of Lent. This word is Latin and means preparation. The preparation refers to a time of people praying and fasting as they consider Jesus’ earthly ministry and His Passion.
The time of Lent ends with Holy Week. Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week where Jesus entered into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The significance of this was that only kings would ride a donkey into an official city, and Jesus declared at that time that He was a king. Palm branches, various varieties of vegetation or even pussy willows are used to celebrate this event. Green Thursday is a special day in which Austrians celebrate a special mass where they receive Jesus’ body and blood as they partake in the Lord’s Supper. In addition to this, the bells in many communities are silent in honor of the death of Christ. At the same time, adults tell children that the bells have flown to Rome. The bells are rung when it is Easter.
It is hard for some to understand why Good Friday would be called good if Jesus died. Austrian Christians respond that it is Good Friday because Christ Jesus died in order to set the world free from sin on that day.
There is quite a buildup to the big event of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Masses, Passion plays and many other similar events mark this time. Easter Sunday is seen as a time to have egg bake, attend mass and spend time with family. Sunday evening can be spent with other people who have created bonfires as they dance and sing around the fire. Austria recognizes the Monday after Easter as a holiday. Commonly known as Easter Monday, Austrians spend time with their families and may do various social activities as they enjoy time together and consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are plenty of festivities, marketplaces and other events to see.
It is important to keep in mind that Austrians mix secular aspects to this Christian celebration. While many Austrians are Roman Catholic, a number of them do not attend Mass or observe the fasting that is frequently attributed to the time of Lent. Still, many do participate in many Easter activities. Easter eggs, which are known throughout Europe and the United States, are featured heavily in the country. People love to spend time creating and designing Easter eggs of all different kinds of shapes and sizes.
Easter eggs are usually put into two different categories. The first category is primarily one of decoration. These eggs can be hollowed out and fashioned into many different designs and shapes. Some families save decorated eggs throughout the years and have quite a collection during the time of Easter. Street vendors have numerous eggs that have been created by hand that can easily be purchased. The other category of Easter eggs are those that are dyed or painted with the intention that they will be hidden in order to by found on Easter Sunday. This is a popular family tradition that many children anticipate. Not only that, but also these eggs can be used for egg dishes in the future.
It is important to note that there are numerous religious and cultural events that are held during the time of and around Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Here is a small sampling of events that are held throughout the country:
- Salzburg Easter Festival. This unique festival has received international acclaim for the music and festivities. The festival itself is held in Salzburg during the week of Easter. It hosts a wide variety of classical music as well as opera. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is frequently highlighted. There is a special concert for children that are sure to bring pleasure and joy. Orchestras and groups play selections from Bach, Tchaikovsky and other famous composers.
- Osterklang Festival. This annual festival is held in Vienna. It features a wide variety of classical music that is intended to bring reflection, serenity and joy. Among the works that have been featured in the past, include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
- Easter Market Schonbrunn Palace. Known by many as a former summer residence of royalty, the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna invites Austrians and visitors to celebrate traditional customs during the Easter season. Vendors from all over the country come to the palace and display a wide variety of items. These can include glassware, stoneware and much more. Easter eggs are in abundance with plenty of variety and colors. Children are invited to attend workshops and do creative projects. One of the most popular workshops for children is the Aster Bunny Worship.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday is a time of the year that many Austrians love to celebrate. Although it occurs just once a year in either late March or early April, locals enjoy spending time creating Easter eggs and focusing on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Austria has plenty of events, shops and activities for people of all ages. One of the most difficult decisions for visitors and some locals is what activity to do first. At the same time, the focus is on celebrating Easter.