It’s Eastertime again - 7 Easter traditions in the Salzburger Sportwelt

Eggcellent – Easter’s just around the corner. Easter is also a festival with lots of traditions in our region and there’s a very special "spring awakening" feeling in the air. After the winter months, people are looking forward to long strolls with the whole family at Easter, the first bicycle tours in the valley and many other traditions and customs. Today - a few days before Palm Sunday - I have summarised our most important Easter traditions. Let yourself be inspired and look forward to Easter with me.

Eeaster wreath

A sweet Easter pastry belongs to Easter, of course, like the biscuits at Christmas. The yeast dough for the Easter wreath is not only suitable for a wreath, but also for many other Easter pastries, such as an Easter plaited loaf. The "round shape" chosen in our recipe represents the power of the sun. In addition, circular Easter wreaths are of course also perfect as an "Easter nest substitute" for giving as a gift. You can find more information about the recipe here.

Easter lamb

One of the best-known symbols of Easter is the lamb. Since the earliest times in Christianity, it has been a symbol of the innocent devotion and death of Jesus Christ. Already in the Old Testament, the lamb was a sacrificial animal and was offered to God in various rituals. Moreover, with its white skin, it is a symbol of purity. Its peaceful demeanour is supposed to be a sign for people to lead their lives in peace as well. In our modern customs, the sacrificial lamb has faded into the background. This means that we no longer slaughter a real lamb, but today we have an Easter lamb version baked from cake mixture.More information on how to prepare a delicious Easter lamb can be found here.

Dyeing Easter eggs

Egg tapping and egg dyeing are popular amongst young and old alike. But when should you actually dye your eggs? That's quite simple. My grandmother explains the tradition: "Nowadays, people dye eggs on any day, but in olden times we used to dye "Antlass eggs". Naturally, I’m very curious and ask her more specifically. The "Antlass Day", now better known as "Maundy Thursday", was once the day in the Middle Ages when people were released from their 40-day fast of penance and allowed to attend church services again. This is why eggs laid by chickens on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday are called "Antlass eggs". The "Antlass eggs" are therefore attributed a special meaning. Therefore, these eggs are also typically used for the food blessing and consumption on Easter Sunday. PS: This year, we dyed our eggs a little earlier for the photos, but we will definitely do it again on Maundy Thursday :).

In our region, eggs dyed using onion skins are particularly popular. To create beautiful patterns, herbs are collected and used. It is often the first green grasses that grow in spring that come between the egg and onion shells to form the patterns. Let your creativity run wild here and use everything that nature provides every year at Easter, from daisies and primroses to dandelion leaves and yarrow. Of course, collecting herbs is a special experience for the whole family and is part and parcel of Easter in any case.

Blowing eggs

Especially as children, we all loved blowing eggs. Sometimes it was harder, sometimes easier. Every year we blow eggs as a family, and then paint and decorate them beautifully together. Of course, the smaller the hole poked into the eggshell with a needle, the harder it is. But of course, we know how to do it and carefully poke a hole at the top and bottom with the needle and blow the egg until all the contents run out. So that the eggs don't start to smell or even rot later, we also rinse the blown eggs.

Palm Sunday bouquets

On Palm Sunday, the beginning of Easter week is celebrated with colourfully decorated palm bouquets. Bought or homemade - traditionally, seven different branches are tied to form an evergreen bouquet.In SalzburgerLand, the bunches are made from at least seven evergreen branches: Juniper, yew, holly, thuja, palm catkin and boxwood. In addition, a hazelnut bush is also used. Each plant has a traditional meaning: the hazel stick is said to protect against lightning, juniper against the plague, the yew against witches, the holly against demons. The thuja serves as a general defence. Palm catkins and boxwood are blessing branches. Decorated with coloured ribbons or colourful wood shavings, the palm bouquet is carried to church on Palm Sunday and blessed there.The highlight as a child after the palm bouquet blessing, of course, was when you proudly brought your own palm bouquet home all by yourself again and received an Easter egg as a reward. Sometimes, if we were very good, we also got an egg in "chocolate form" ;).

Easter snack/blessing of food

In this blog post I have already told you a lot about the Easter traditions here in the Pongau and the Salzburger Sportwelt region. One custom that triggers wonderful childhood memories for me is the food blessing on Easter night or Easter Sunday. The tradition of blessing food even goes back to the 10th century, when milk and honey were originally blessed. Eggs have been blesed since around the 12th century. In a beautiful blessing basket, covered with a specially embroidered coverlet, regional and home-prepared foods such as butter, cheese, Easter ham, bread, eggs, and much more are blessed. You'll find out more details about our regional Easter hamper next week. Just wait and see :).

Naming of the Easter Days

The custom of the various traditional namings during Easter is truly a fun one. Especially for the children, of course ;). The aim of this custom is to bring the Holy Week closer to the children in a playful way. So, this "game" already begins on Palm Sunday. The person who is the last to get up on the morning of Palm Sunday is often jokingly called the "palm donkey". And yes: of course, it used to be a "sibling duel" as to who had the role of palm donkey. The tradition of naming continues on Maundy Thursday. As explained earlier in the blog post above, the eggs that are dyed on Maundy Thursday are called "Antlass eggs". Thus, even the biggest Maundy Thursday morning grouch is called an "Antlass egg". Since the church bells traditionally fall silent on Maundy Thursday and are replaced by "rattles" until Easter Vigil, the person who is the last to get up on Friday is called the "Good Friday rattle".

But that's not all ;). Whoever gets up last thing on the morning of Holy Saturday is called a "baptismal cloth", because the baptismal font is emptied on Maundy Thursday and refilled with water and consecrated on Saturday. The word 'baptismal cloth' comes from a girl who spilled the baptismal water in church when she carried it out. As a child, unlike my brothers, I liked to stay in bed a little longer on Saturday, so the "baptismal cloth" suited me. Finally, on Easter Sunday, the whole family starts the "Easter nest search" together. The last person to get out of bed for the Easter nest search is called a stinky egg. The name refers to a leftover egg that has not been found.
With this in mind, we wish you wonderful Easter holidays in the Salzburger Sportwelt and you can look forward to our blog post next week with the regional Easter snack for the food blessing :). We can’t wait. What Easter traditions do you have or how do you dye your Easter eggs? Post your pictures on social media under #bloghuette #salzburgersportwelt.

In this blog post you can read how you can bring the Easter spring atmosphere even more into your home. By the way, you can also ski in the Salzburger Sportwelt during the Easter holidays. Click here for more information.

photo credits: Salzburger Sportwelt, Stefanie Jastrinsky, Sabrina Reisenberger