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Austrian traditions For Members

What do Austrians eat during Easter celebrations?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
What do Austrians eat during Easter celebrations?
A chocolate Osterhase. Image by 🌸♡💙♡🌸 Julita 🌸♡💙♡🌸 from Pixabay

Austria is a very Catholic country, and Easter festivities are full of events - and traditional dishes.

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Easter traditions begin in Austria in the weeks before the big day, as shops and bakeries start to fill up with seasonal goods such as Osterpinzen (a kind of sweet bread roll), Schinken im Brotteig (ham in a bread crust), colourful hard-boiled eggs, and cakes in the shape of a lamb (Osterlamm).

READ ALSO: 'Osterlamm' and what it means to Austria

Hard-boiled eggs are extremely popular - around 50 million of them are sold in shops during the Easter season, Austrian media has reported. They are eventually eaten but are also part of a special tradition, or Easter "competition", known in Austria as Eierpecken

Families will gather at the dinner table, each choosing their own special dyed egg. In pairs, they will "tap" the eggs together. The egg that survives without a crack wins.  

But, of course, eggs are not the main dish.

READ ALSO: Why is Good Friday not a holiday in Austria?

Almost 230 tons of sheep and lamb meat are eaten in households around Easter. In the months before and after, the figure is only around a third of that.

Some families prefer a lighter meal, and bread and smoked meat are consumed for the Easter festivities - in particular, almost twice as much smoked meat is sold at Easter than in other months. 

A cheese platter - especially with some local cheeses - is also very popular for Easter lunch with family.

Before the feast, though, people often fast on Maundy Thursday - not strict fasting, though. They usually abstain from meat dishes and fill up on spinach (four times as much spinach is consumed on Maundy Thursday than on other days). 

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Do people bring presents for Easter?

Traditionally, yes, there is an exchange of chocolate products. In Vienna, two-thirds of the people buy presents for Easter, spending an average of €50 per person or €70 per person if there are children or grandchildren in the family, according to data from the Vienna Economic Chamber.

Various goods are purchased around Easter, including toys, Easter decorations, clothing, consumer electronics, health and beauty products and sporting goods.

READ ALSO: What’s open and what’s closed in Austria over Easter weekend?

Easter is a family celebration, as the results of a survey conducted by KMU Forschung Austria on behalf of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce show: 56 percent plan to spend the day with their family and are preparing an Easter snack or Easter meal together.

"By the end of the Easter weekend, an impressive 16 million dyed eggs and 5 million chocolate bunnies will have been given away in Vienna - that makes eight Easter eggs and at least two chocolate bunnies per person," said Margarete Gumprecht, Chairwoman of the Retail Division of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce.

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The survey showed that sweets are the most popular gifts (69 percent), followed by dyed and boiled eggs (33 percent), toys (28 percent), cash (24 percent), and flowers or plants (20 percent). 

The most popular Easter traditions are visiting family members (56 percent), a joint Easter meal (52 percent), an Easter egg hunt (31 percent), egg pecking (the Eierpecken game, with 30 percent) and setting up a decorated Easter tree (29 percent).

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