EASTER IN AUSTRIA VS EASTER IN THE US
This past week when I emailed my work colleagues that Peter Cottontail had stopped by and left goodies in the kitchen, half ignored the message and the other half actually questioned who this generous Mr. Cottontail was and why he was leaving us all chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. When I responded that he had hippity-hopped his way down the bunny trail just to make a special stop, my colleagues were kind enough not to suggest that the extended Easter Holiday break might do me some good.
Though Peter Cottontail’s bunny trail may usually bypass the land of Schnitzel and Strudel, Austrians and Americans share many Easter traditions. We all dye Easter eggs, decorate our places with pussy willows, consume some kind of ham on Easter Sunday and give Easter baskets with enough sweets and chocolates to ensure post-sugar meltdowns all that way into summer. Sure the Easter Bunny comes for Easter, but in Austria the furry fellow looks and acts like a real rabbit whereas in the US, the Easter Bunny looks like some character who just escaped from Disneyworld.
But those Austrians, the gemütlich folk that they are, just had to one-up us on Easter traditions with Easter Monday. That’s right. Not only is Sunday a public holiday here, but Monday is too. As if five weeks of paid vacation a year ain’t enough.
But thank goodness Monday’s a holiday. It gives us an extra day to remember to move the clocks forward and sorely needed recovery time from marzipan-lamb hangover and Billa battle wounds from Saturday afternoon’s grocery store visit. Because if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll realize that the extra day off means that all grocery stores will be closed from 5 pm Saturday until 7 am Tuesday. This in turns means that the Saturday shopping trip requires a gathering of supplies for the hunkered-down weekend and you and all other expats, immigrants and tourists will be descending on Billa at five to five on Saturday afternoon in a mad dash for the very last loaf of bread (carrot with whole wheat?) and organic-happy-cow-long-lasting milk. Pretend like you’re back in North Carolina and they just announced a hurricane warning and you’ll be in your element.
And if the grocery store isn’t enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then it’s time for another Austrian tradition that is kicking and screaming to make its way to the country of monster trucks, mud wrestling and nude beach Olympics. Quit tossing those eggs. Get rid of the spoons and lose the running shoes. You’re a grown-up now. Time for a grown-up Easter sport. Time for some… Egg Boxing!
Sure the Austrians quaintly call it “Eierpecken” – egg pecking. But we’re Americans, dang rabbit! And when we import a holiday tradition, we give it an injection of testosterone and a punch of raw brutality.
Tired of hearing about cousin Charlie’s new candy-red Ferrari La Ferrari? Put him in his place this coming Easter Sunday and challenge him man-to-man to an egg-boxing contest to see what old Chuckie’s really made of.
So tune in tomorrow where I got you covered with all you need to become the very next hard-boiled egg boxing champion – exclusively here: EGG BOXING 101 – The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Winning Egg Boxer
Also check out some previous Easter posts:
Vienna’s Easter Markets
When the Bells Fall Silent and Fly to Rome: Holy Thursday to Easter Night
Who can resist the Egg Bear – Austrian word of the week