Holidays in Austria

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Jan 1 - New Year's Day (National holiday)


New Yearís Day, which is on January 1, marks the start of the year in the Gregorian calendar and it's a public holiday in many countries. Count down to the New Year, no matter where you are.

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Jan 6 - Epiphany (National holiday)

Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on January 6. It is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christís life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

Celebrate Epiphany

January 6, which is 12 days after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, marks not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the start of the Carnival season, which climaxes with Mardi Gras. In some European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, children dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their roles as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesusí birth and pay homage to the ďking of kingsĒ. They are rewarded with praise and cookies.

Dia de los Reyes Magos is the Latin American celebration of Epiphany. In many Latin American countries, it is the three wise men and not Santa Claus who bring gifts for children. Children write letters to the wise men telling them how good they were and what gifts they want. In France Le Jour des Rois (the Day of Kings), sometimes called the Fête des Rois, is celebrated with parties for children and adults. The galette des rois, or ďcake of kingsĒ, highlights these celebrations. This cake is round and flat, cut into the pantry, covered with a white napkin and carried into a dining room.

Children in Spain fill their shoes with straw or grain for the three kingsí horses to eat and place them on balconies or by the front door on Epiphany Eve. The next day they find cookies, sweets or gifts in their place. The ďthree kingsĒ make an entry in many cities in Spain on Epiphany Eve, accompanied by military bands and drummers in medieval dress.

March equinox (Season)

There are two equinoxes every year Ė in March and September Ė when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

Palm Sunday (Observance)

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christís triumphal entry into Jerusalem, according to Christian belief. It marks the beginning of Holy Week and always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. Other names for this day include Passion Sunday, Fig Sunday, Willow Sunday, Branch Sunday, or Blossom Sunday.

Good Friday (Observance)

Many Christians around the world observe Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates Jesus Christís Passion, crucifixion and death, which is told in the Christian bible. It is the day after Maundy Thursday.

What do people do?

Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christís crucifixion and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday.  This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying. Many church services are held in the afternoon, usually around noon or midday to 3pm, to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by re-enacting the procession of the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesusí life. Processions are held in many countries such as India, Italy, Malta, the Philippines, and Spain.

Kites that are often handmade are flown in Bermuda on Good Friday to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on, as well as his ascension into heaven. This custom dates back to the 19th century. Churches in countries, such as Belgium and Mexico, are draped in black on Good Friday in memory of Jesusí suffering on the cross. The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many towns and villages. Many Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes. Egg decorating is also part of the Easter preparations in Poland and many other countries.

Easter Day (Observance)

Easter Sunday is one of the most festive events among Christians worldwide. It commemorates Jesus Christís resurrection from death, as written in the Christian bible.

Easter Monday (National holiday)

Easter Monday is observed as a public holiday in many countries and is part of the Easter period. It is a Christian observance and is the day after Easter Sunday.

May 1 - Labor Day / May Day (National holiday)

May Day, or Labor Day, is a public holiday in many countries worldwide. It usually occurs around May 1, but the date varies across countries. It is associated the start of spring as well as the celebration of workers.

Ascension Day (National holiday)

Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter. It occurs 39 days after Easter Sunday. It is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven according to Christian belief.

Whit Sunday (Observance)

Pentecost is a Christian holiday commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible. It is also known as Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

Whit Monday (National holiday)

Whit Monday, or Pentecost Monday, is a Christian holiday. It is the day after Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsunday, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible.

Jun 4 - Corpus Christi (National holiday)

Corpus Christi is a Christian observance that honors the Holy Eucharist. It is also known as the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ, as well as the Day of Wreaths.

June Solstice (Season)

The June solstice is known as the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice the southern hemisphere. The date varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year.

Aug 15 - Assumption of Mary (National holiday)

The feast day of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the Christian belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death It is celebrated on or around August 15 in many countries, particularly in parts of Europe and South America. It's also called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (in the eastern countries), or the Feast of the Assumption.

September equinox (Season)

There are two equinoxes every year Ė in March and September Ė when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

Oct 26 - National day (National holiday)

Every year on October 26 Austrians celebrate their country's declaration of permanent neutrality after World War II and its regained status as an independent and sovereign nation on October 26, 1955.

What do people do?

On October 26, the Austrian national flag is omnipresent throughout the country. Memorial ceremonies are held in many locations, federal museums offer free entry and some state institutions open for visitors.

A very different tradition on National Day are the ďfitness marchesĒ (Fit-Märsche). These are hikes that are organized throughout the country and attract around 100,000 people each year. The aim is to promote fitness and raise awareness of a healthy life-style.

Public life

The National Day on October 26 is a public holiday in Austria. Offices, banks, schools and businesses are closed. Public transport runs on a reduced schedule.

Background

October 26 has been the date of Austria's National Day since 1965. Ten years earlier, the country had declared its permanent neutrality, which has since become one of the fundamental values of Austrian foreign policy. One day before the declaration, on October 25, 1955, the last foreign troops left the country, which had been occupied by the four allied powers (Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France) since the end of World War II.

Nov 1 - All Saints' Day (National holiday)

All Saints' Day is a celebration of all Christian saints, particularly those who have no special feast days of their own, in many Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. In many western churches it is annually held November 1 and in many eastern churches it is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is also known as All Hallows Tide, All-Hallomas, or All Hallows' Day.

Nov 2 - All Saints' Day (Observance)

All Soulsí Day is a day of alms giving and prayers for the dead. The intent is for the living to assist those in purgatory. Many western churches annually observe All Soulsí Day on November 2 and many eastern churches celebrate it prior to Lent and the day before Pentecost.

First Sunday Advent (Observance)

The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year in western Christianity. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, beginning on the Sunday nearest St Andrewís Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Day.

Dec 8 - Immaculate Conception (National holiday)

Many Christian communities around the world annually observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This day is a holy day of obligation in which many Christians, particularly of the Catholic faith, attend special church services for this occasion.

December Solstice (Season)

The December solstice is on either December 20, 21, 22 or 23. It is called Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the shortest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year.

Dec 24 - Christmas Eve (Bank holiday)

Christmas Eve, which is the day before Christmas Day, is celebrated in many countries worldwide. It is a Christian observance that falls on December 24 in the Gregorian calendar.

Dec 25 - Christmas Day (National holiday)

Christmas Day, on December 25, is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. It celebrates Jesus' birth.

Dec 26 - Saturday St. Stephen's Day (National holiday)

Dec 31 - New Year's Eve (Observance)

New Yearís Eve is one of the largest global celebrations because it marks the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, December 31, before the New Year. Count down to the New Year no matter where you are in the world.