Happy Easter everyone! Last weekend we drove to my parents’ just like every year to celebrate the last few days of Easter together with them. I love Easter, probably more than Christmas, but Mr. Panda only started to ‘celebrate’ Easter when we started to date. He not celebrating it was actually predictable, but so I was actually able to teach him all the customs and traditions I grew up with. Yay!

I grew up about 300 kilometers (~ 190 miles) from Vienna in the most Southern Part of Austria, only a 30 minutes’ drive away from Italy and Slovenia. Now, as you know, every region has its own ways of celebrating festivals, and the way my family and I do is strongly influenced by the Eastern part of Carinthia, the most Southern state of Austria, the place where my family is originally from.

The Holy week in Eastern Carinthia

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Palm bush made of pussy willow branches

It all starts with the Palm Sunday (Palmsonntag). Many normally prepare small bushes we make out of pussy willow branches. I sometimes colored eggs which I put on it. People then bring to the church to get them blessed by a Catholic priest. I always skipped that one mass and ditched my grandma when I grew older, but I still love to prepare the bush and decorate them even now.

Other days’ worth to be mentioned are probably Maundy Thursday (Gründonnerstag) and Good Friday (Karfreitag). When I was young I was not allowed to eat meat on these two fast days, but as I grew older I started to forget about which day it was and it all started with me accidentally eating ham sandwiches on these days. Whoops.

So what is so special about celebrating Easter in Southern Austria you might ask now? It starts on the last day of the Holy week, the Holy Saturday (Karsamstag). Like every year, we first prepare a wicker basket with lots of traditional Easter food in it.

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You have to look after your basket. Two years ago, one was stolen after the blessing!

Afterwards we go to a small park near a hospital where my favorite priest is appointed to do the so-called ‘meat blessing’ (Fleischweihe). As he is so busy he normally only takes about 10 minutes, and his speeches are always so funny as well. I normally always go there with my grandma, but this year we went there alone to remember her.

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After the blessing it is finally the time to eat what is in the basket! These are for example smoked sausages (my favorite), cooked ham, smoked ox tongue, fresh horseradish, boiled eggs, and Reindling (yeast cake with sugar, cinnamon and raisins). Because it is used to celebrate the end of the Lenten season, it contains lots and lots of meat.

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Easter snack, with the egg holder hen I made at Junior High School in the middle.

The first Easter snack (Osterjause) was actually quite strange for him and it took him some time to get used to the sweet bread with was eaten together with the meat. Although we prepared sandwich bread for him the following year, he actually wanted to eat the snack the traditional way. He actually started to like it so much that he is looking forward to it every year now, and I sometimes have to make it for him during the rest of the year too. Which is actually very strange for me.

easter2016_3While we were away, my mom the Easter bunny actually came and hid little Easter presents, Easter nests, for us in the garden. It was time to look for them. I found them really fast as always. Mr. Panda was as slow as always, which is normal as he lacks 20 years of Easter egg hunt experience.

All in all he really started to like celebrating a ‘slim version’ of Easter with us. He loves the traditional food and is looking forward to my mum’s Easter egg hunt. And let’s face it: you can lure in every Chinese with nice food.

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An Easter nest hidden in the garden, and Mr. Panda who finally found it!

How do you celebrate Easter? Do you follow any special traditions?

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My aunt’s cat crushing three flowers at once.

I am sorry that I need to make my post short again, as I am currently super busy with finishing my Master’s thesis, wedding planning and digesting what I ate at my family gatherings last week.

Celebrating Easter with a Hong Konger in Carinthia, Southern Austria
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8 thoughts on “Celebrating Easter with a Hong Konger in Carinthia, Southern Austria

  • March 30, 2016 at 2:54
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    Wow,the pictures look nice. They do capture the spirit of Easter. The priest blessing the meat looks unusual. I had never seen anything like that before.

    We had some friends over and “celebrated” on a kayak and a picnic on a random island. 🙂

    Reply
    • March 30, 2016 at 10:32
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      He is rather ‘unconventional’, but this is probably the reason why everybody loves him. He is a great person. 🙂

      Reply
  • March 30, 2016 at 7:14
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    Enjoyed reading this post. Wicker baskets look good. I spent Easter in Qinghai in northern China so no Easter eggs for me but I brought some over for my friends children in Beijing who loved them.

    Reply
    • March 30, 2016 at 10:34
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      What a lovely idea to bring them some. 🙂
      My mom in law doesn’t celebrate Easter but she loves to buy and eat the colored eggs.

      Reply
  • April 3, 2016 at 2:47
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    We always had the egg dyeing and the hunt. The blessing I’ve never heard of — is it a town tradition? And seriously, if you steal someone’s basket, wouldn’t that sort of cancel out the blessing?!

    Reply
    • April 3, 2016 at 19:24
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      The meat blessing is done in Southern Austria only as far as I know.

      A person tried to nap a basket again last year, but they catched him – it was a guy from the nearby psychiatric department who “went for a walk”.

      Reply
  • April 4, 2016 at 22:50
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    As always, your post is fun to read, and very informative about the tradition and culture of Austria. I will be taking my wife and 14-year old son to Salzburg and Vienna this coming July. Your photo on the meat shows some delicious looking smoked sausages and smoke ham. I wonder whether the smoked sausages and smoked ham in southern Austria (shown in your lovely photo) would be different from the sausages and ham in Salzburg (western Austria?) and Vienna (eastern Austria?)?. The meat in your photo look yummy. But I am concerned that after eating sausages several days in a row in Austria during our July trip, would we get tired of smoke sausages? My understanding is that sausages are the most common form of meat in Bavaria (we will visit Munich for two days) and Austria. Perhaps I am wrong. If sausages are not the most common, what type of meat is the most common and popular in Austria? Could you recommend any restaurants in Salzburg and Vienna to us? During our trip, we will be staying on Kollergasse near the old center of Vienna. On Google Map, I saw several Asian restaurants (even a Chinese restaurant) in the vicinity of where we will be staying in Vienna. However, we will likely avoid these Asian restaurants and concentrate on Austrian cuisines instead. Like the old saying go, when you are in Vienna (Rome), do what Viennese (Romans) do.

    Reply
    • April 5, 2016 at 11:05
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      Of course we have lots of different dishes here, not sausages only. We have lots of different sausages so you could eat different ones every day, but of course we have other food too. Sausages are quite heavy and fatty, so they are an expectation in our diet. 🙂
      Austrian cuisine contains mainly meat (like cutlets/Schnitzel, rips…) and potatoes so it can become quite heavy if you aren’t be on allert, but you can always add lots of veggies and fruits like we do. 🙂

      And about the restaurants… I’ll email you later. 😀

      Reply

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