Austria is a country with twelve regions – Burgenland, Oberösterreich, Tirol, Kärnten, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, Niederösterreich, Steiermark and Wien. The most popular holidays on the Austria Calendar that are celebrated in most regions are as follows:
New Year’s Day
The 1st of January is a New Year in Austria.
The 6th of January is a day called Epiphany. This is a Christian religious feast that celebrates the coming of the Son of God to earth as a man. In the Holy Trinity, Jesus is God the Son. Jesus was revealed to the inhabitants of earth – the Gentiles and all men.
Easter is a Christian holiday observing and commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. The day after Easter Sunday is Easter Monday. This day is commemorated in most countries with a large presence of Christians – the Roman Catholics, Protestants as well as the followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In Austria, the dates for Easter are not fixed. The four-day holiday can take place anywhere between the last week of March and during the month of April. As an example, the 2012 Easter started on the 6th of April, the 2013 Easter will start on the 29th of March and the 2014 Easter will start on the 18th of April.
The next holiday is Labor Day which is celebrated on the 1st of May. This is a worldwide holiday that pays puts attention to laborers and workers around the world, and their contribution to the society and economy.
Ascension Day also known as Christi Himmelfahrt is celebrated in Austria. This is a Christian religious holiday that commemorates the Ascension of Christ to heaven. There are many names for this religious feast such as Holy Thursday, Ascension Thursday or Ascension Feast. According to Acts 1:3,Ascension Day was on the 40th day after Easter Sunday.Therefore,this holiday follows after 40 days from the end of Easter Sunday.Its date depends on the day in which Easter falls during that year.
Whit Sunday also known as Pfingsten (the day of Pentecost) is commemorated in Austria as in other Christian countries. Its date is not fixed, but it depends on the period in which Easter falls during the year. It is called Whitsun in the United Kingdom, and it occurs 49 days from Easter Sunday or the seventh Sunday counting from Easter Sunday. The holiday commemorates the event in the Acts of the Apostles [Chapter 2], when the Holy Ghost came upon the disciples, after Jesus has ascended to heaven nine days earlier.
Corpus Christi is a Christian religious feast celebrated on the 60th day from Easter Sunday, the Day of Ressurection.It is one of the final events to mark the end of Easter Celebrations. In this feast, which is held on a Thursday following Trinity Sunday, belief in the body of Christ and his blood is symbolized in the Holy Communion (also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Blessed Sacrament).Jesus told his disciples to remember Him by drinking wine which represents his blood and eating bread which represents his body.
Assumption of Mary
This Christian holiday is celebrated on the 15th of August.
Declaration of Neutrality
This is an Austrian Holiday commemorating the country’s declaration of neutrality on the 26th of October 1955.As a result, 26 October is a national holiday in Austria. This declaration forms part of the Austrian constitution. The Austrian State Treaty, which established Austria as an independent state, freed the country from occupation by the Allied forces (USA, Soviet Union, UK and France). Austria had to declare its neutrality in order for the Soviet Union to recognize its sovereignty. Although the law forms part of the Austrian constitution, it is also internationally enforced. It remains to be seen if this law can be changed without international legal consequences, but Austria has espoused neutrality as part of its tradition.
All Saints’ Day
The 1st of November is All Saints’ Day in Austria. In Eastern Christianity, it is a day to honor all the historical Saints including the unknown Saints. In the Western Christian Calendar, it is celebrated on 1 November. In the Eastern Christian Calendar, it is celebrated on a Sunday following the Day of Pentecost.
While the Eastern Christian religion honors all the saints on this day, the Western Christian religion will be commemorating all the departed souls who have reached heaven i.e. those who have been redeemed – an event known as beatific vision. This holiday is observed in many countries with a Catholic tradition and presence. Other than the All Saints Day, the Catholic Church also observes the All Souls Day, where prayers are held for people believed to be in hell (purgatory).
Feast of the Immaculate Birth
This is held on the 8th of December to commemorate the birth of the Virgin Mary who was conceived in a state of sinless nature. Since this day falls in the month of December, some shops will open to accommodate shopping for the festive season.
The 25th of December is a Christmas Holiday in Austria. The birth of Jesus is remembered.
St Stephen’s Day
The Austria Calendar closes the year with St Stephen’s Day on the 26th of December. This is a Christian holiday that commemorates the death of Stephen, the first Christian Martyr after the death of Christ. In the Eastern Christian church, the holiday is celebrated on the 27th of December. In most European countries such as Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Poland and Romania, the commemoration of the death of Stephen is a public holiday.