Why August 15th is a public holiday in Austria

The Local Austria
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Why August 15th is a public holiday in Austria
The beautiful Lake Constance in Austria ((c) Christiane Setz)

It might feel like most people in Austria are still on their summer holidays, but on Tuesday even people who aren't have a day off – here's why.


August is holiday season in Austria. It's the month when offices close, many small bars and cafes shut up shop and people head away from the cities towards lakes or cross the border to reach coastal cities.

There are of course some people who still have to work during August, but Tuesday August 15th, is a public holiday in all Austrian states, meaning that even businesses that usually stay open in the summer, such as supermarket chains, will shut their doors.


August 15th, is an important date in the Austrian calendar, not only because it’s a public holiday but because it’s a day to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin, which, according to Christians, commemorates the day the Virgin Mary entered heaven.

This will be honoured with masses in churches across the country. But apart from that, not a lot else happens, so don't be expecting parades or fireworks. 

Every year, August 15th is a guaranteed vacation day, unless it falls on Sunday (as happened in 2021). 

READ ALSO: Reader question: What happens in Austria when a holiday falls on a weekend?

Many people across Austria will be taking advantage of the holiday by getting away for a long weekend. Many probably took a bridge day - known as a Fenstertag in Austria, and there are warnings of heavy traffic coming in and out of major cities.

When is the next public holiday?

After Tuesday, the next national public holiday will be on October 26th, when Austria celebrates its national day. This year, national day falls on a Thursday so it's likely that many people will take the Friday off to create another long weekend. 

After that there's the All Saints' Day holiday on November 1st, which is a Wednesday in 2023. 


Useful vocabulary:

Maria Himmelfahrt - Assumption Day

der Urlaub - the vacation

die gesetzliche Feiertage - the public holidays

die Sommerferien - the summer holidays

die Autoreise - the roadtrip


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