Easter traditions and events in Salzburg, Austria

Easter and Christmas are two of the most significant Christian feasts despite their pagan roots. 

salzburg toptours easter rabbit - Easter in Austria

Easter, in particular, is rich in pre-Christian customs and is celebrated on dates determined by the phases of the moon. The feast is associated with rebirth, the emergence of life, and the beginning of the favorable time of year. The symbols of fertility and the coming of spring, such as the hare, the egg, the chicken, the palm wreath, the lamb, various spring flowers, the willow, are found everywhere.

During Holy Week, many rituals, processions and services are held to commemorate the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

One of the traditional gifts given in Austria on Palm Sunday is an Easter or palm bush, typically knitted from plants sold at farmers' markets or collected in the woods. The palm bush is made from branches of hazel, boxwood, holly, ivy, willow, juniper, yew, cones, and woven colorful ribbons. It is customary to consecrate the bush and stick it in the garden or field before the agricultural season begins. So, God's protection and blessings are given for the future harvest. The Ethnography association HEIMATWERK offers masterclasses on making palm wreaths and bushes during Holy Week at the New Residence building in Salzburg's Old Town.

It is also customary to consecrate bread, eggs, cheese and sausages in church to share with loved ones after the Easter service. After the forty days of Lent, the summer cafés open and the markets are filled with all kinds of delicacies. Restaurants offer typical dishes such as asparagus with hollandaise sauce, wild garlic and asparagus soups, cheese, ham, fresh salads, Easter lamb cakes and rack of lamb.

With the Easter holidays, mass events, fairs, big parties and weddings begin to take place. For example, the Easter Music Festival, established by outstanding conductor Herbert von Karajan in 1967, is held annually during the Easter holidays. Children exchange painted and dyed eggs or go with friends to parks looking for eggs hidden by the Easter bunny. 

In Austria's villages, it is a tradition to light Easter bonfires on the eve of Easter. Fire is a symbol of light, Christ's eternal life and resurrection. It is customary to sprinkle the fields with ashes from the Easter bonfire in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. 


I am often asked when and how long the Easter markets in Salzburg last. Actually, there are no specific Easter markets in Salzburg like during the Christmas/Advent period. However, there are regular farmers' markets where Easter goods are sold. The larger markets in Salzburg are on Fridays and Saturdays at Universitätsplatz and Thursdays at Mirabellplatz. Most Easter items are sold just before the start of Holy Week.

To find out the dates of Easter and other holidays in Austria this year, please follow this link: Public holidays in Austria

Tags: Maypole raising, Initiation into butchery in Salzburg, Carnival in Austria, Narcissus Flower Festival

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.