Good Friday is the day of the crucifixion. It is a day of mourning. Because of this, and even though we have been fasting for almost 40 days (if we were doing it), we are now fasting even more strictly. That means only one more full meal and no alcohol, no meat, no sweets, and other pleasures. Theoretically, not many people fast on Good Friday or the other 40 days in practice.
Painting Easter eggs
We are about to break the 40-day fast on Saturday, but we still mourn. Therefore, Holy Saturday is the day we prepare the food for the next day and take it to church, where it will be blessed. The food we prepare includes colored eggs and an Easter lamb. A lamb because the lamb symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Colored Easter eggs in Austria
The majority of the lambs we consume at Easter are not absolute. They are made of cake, but in some areas of Austria, people prepare natural lamb and bring the meat to churches to be blessed for the feast the next day.
During the 40-day fast, not only is meat not to be eaten, but neither are eggs. This is one reason eggs are a part of Easter. Another reason is that eggs symbolize fertility, representing victory over death.
The painting of eggs ranges from eggs painted in one color to actual works of art. Before Easter, you can buy colored eggs in the supermarket, but many families paint the eggs at home, especially with children. Similar to baking Christmas cookies during Advent. Most homemade painted eggs are just for decoration. They are blown out before painting.
Easter mass starts on Saturday after sunset or at the latest on Sunday very early before sunrise. This is when the most important celebration for Christians in the world begins. Depending on where you are in Austria, you can attend these masses. I would highly recommend it.
Eierpecken (egg fight)
Of course, most Austrians eat a lot of eggs the next day, starting with breakfast. When they eat eggs on Easter Sunday, they fight with the hard-boiled eggs. And this is how it works. One opponent holds an egg, and the other beat it with his egg from above—first the tops and then the bottoms. There is always a winner; never a draw gets the other player’s egg.
If you have never fought in an egg fight, you can always make up for it. You don’t have to come to Austria to do so.
The hidden Easter nests
When the celebration starts on Easter Sunday, the most important Christian holiday and the fasting ends, parents hide Easter nests for their children. These Easter nests contain chocolate bunnies. Bunnies are also a symbol of fertility. And, of course, the nest has colored eggs and sweets. The nests are hidden somewhere in the garden or the house or wherever it is safe for the children to roam and search.
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