February

If you like winter you will especially love Austrian winters. But you have to get away from the cities and visit the countryside for great activities in the snow with family and friends. February has some great customs and traditions to offer that you cannot escape if you are in close contact with locals. Besides the Vienna Opernball, one of the highlights in February is connected with Carnival, also known as “Fasching”. But there are also more customs worth a closer look during the course of the year.

 

Carnival ("Fasching")

The two most important days in the carnival season are “Faschingssamstag” (the Saturday before Ash Wednesday) and “Faschingsdienstag” (Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday). Shrove Tuesday is also the official end of the carnival season (“Fasching”) that takes place on the 9th February 2016. During the carnival season (period between Epiphany and the beginning of Lent) Upper Austrians celebrate a lot and like to get dressed up. Children will dress up in costumes and teenagers and adults go to fancy dress parties. In small communities, there are parades and processions. There is also a sweet donut called the “Faschingskrapfen” which is mainly served in the carnival season in bakeries around Upper Austria. There is no way you can miss it between November and February. One of the best “Faschingskrapfen” in Linz is served in the confectionary shop “Jindrak”.

In Upper Austria there is one prominent carnival event in Ebensee (Salzkammergut) called “Fetzenfasching” (carnival of rags). The name refers to the ragged outfit of the masks, which they wear on Shrove Monday. It is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in a very traditional carnival celebration.

join the carnival in Upper Austria

 

Ash Wednesday & lent season

When the Carnival season ends (Shrove Tuesday at midnight), in some areas of Upper Austria a puppet called "Carnival", is buried or burned. The following day, Ash Wednesday, is the beginning of the lent season where a lot of Austrians fast for 40 days. The lent period starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter Sunday. The traditional dish on Ash Wednesday is the “Heringschmaus” which is a pickled herring salad – this is offered in many restaurants. Make yourself familiar with this traditional dish either at “Josef Stadtbräu” or the “Arkadenhof Linz“.

 

Spring break - school holidays

February is also the time for the first holiday break for kids at school. Austria has introduced different dates for spring break in various regions, the so called “Bundesländer”. Every year Upper Austria, Styria and Vorarlberg start the holiday season together. In 2016, spring break takes place from 13th – 21st February 2016. Under the following link you can find an overview of other regions in Austria and their spring break dates: school holidays in Austria.