Austrian Eggstravaganza!

Nothing says “spring” like 45 degrees with a stiff wind. Clearly a good day to bundle up and check out the local Easter markets.

To tell you the truth, I am a little mystified by the whole Easter thing in Central Europe. It’s just not part of my own cultural heritage, being non-Catholic and non-Central European. It was never that big a deal when I was growing up. We got a basket in the morning with jelly beans and a big chocolate bunny. We decorated a few eggs with one of those kits from the grocery store, then proceeded to lose them in the yard. That was pretty much it. (Oh, but it was a lot warmer outside!)

I’ve never decorated my own house for Easter, either. I’m guess I’m just not that into eggs and bunnies…

Anyway, I started by taking the bus over to the Schönbrunn Palace, which has one of the largest, touristy markets, then went on to the Freyung and Am Hof downtown, which are more for locals.

The markets are pretty much the same, selling a variety of small gifts and really a LOT of eggs. The eggs are very nicely decorated—some are even quite artistic—but start at about $5 each. Many are $10 and up. Since I prefer not to spend that kind of money on my cat’s toys, I passed. But I did get some decent photos with my phone.

If you think the pictures look rather like the Christmas market photos I took a few months ago, you would be correct. I think I even saw some of the same vendors.  Kitsch is kitsch, after all.

I just can’t imagine what the Viennese do with all this stuff. They mostly live in apartments, and don’t even have closets. They must all have boxes and boxes of eggs, bunnies, and Christmas ornaments stuffed under the beds. I’ve got the crates of Christmas decorations, myself, but I think for Easter, I’ll stick with photos  🙂

Schoenbrunn Palace with a giant egg.
Schoenbrunn Palace with a giant egg.
Wonderful Egg World!
Wonderful Egg World!
Mossy ribbon-y eggs.
Mossy ribbon-y eggs.
Hand-painted eggs, probably from the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Poland.
Hand-painted eggs, probably from the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Poland.
Hey, Mork, I found your spaceship...
Hey, Mork, I found your spaceship…
The "Vienna Hot Dixxies" (yes, that is spelled with two Xs) were doing their best to warm the place up.
The “Vienna Hot Dixxies” (yes, that is spelled with two Xs) were doing their best to warm the place up.
Crocheted and decoupaged eggs.
Crocheted and decoupaged eggs.
Marble eggs.  These were really pretty and certainly indestructible, but at $10 and up apiece, I couldn't see buying enough to fill a bowl.
Marble eggs. These were really pretty and certainly indestructible, but at $10 and up apiece, I couldn’t see buying enough to fill a bowl.
Eggy birds or birdy eggs, or something...
Eggy birds or birdy eggs, or something…
Next stop: the Old Vienna Easter Market at the Freyung downtown.
Next stop: the Old Vienna Easter Market at the Freyung downtown.
Starring a really, really huge hand-painted egg.
Starring a really, really huge hand-painted egg.
The other side of the giant egg.
The other side of the giant egg.
Stacks and stacks of eggs.
Stacks and stacks of eggs.
Oh look, more eggs.
Oh look, more eggs.
Hedgehogs!
Hedgehogs!
Eggs with cartoon characters painted on them.
Eggs with cartoon characters painted on them.
On to the Am Hof market, just down the street.
On to the Am Hof market, just down the street.
Wooden eggs, for cat owners, perhaps.
Wooden eggs, for cat owners, perhaps.
Glass eggs.
Glass eggs.
Pussy willow branches for sale. In Prague these were used by young men to spank the ladies in the streets in a very pagan sort of fertility ritual.  They have a different fertility ritual here: see below.
Pussy willow branches for sale. In Prague these were used by young men to spank the ladies in the streets in a very pagan sort of fertility ritual. They have a different fertility ritual here: see below.
Here's how pussy willows are used in Austria.  To hang EGGS on. (Our local pub, "at the mushroom.")
Here’s how pussy willows are used in Austria. To hang EGGS on. (Our local pub, “at the mushroom.”)
Even the tablecloths are gag-me cute. But this is a pub with garden gnomes and plaster mushrooms out front all year. So, there you go: it's all part of the ambiance.
Even the tablecloths are gag-me cute. But this is a pub with garden gnomes and plaster mushrooms out front all year. So, there you go: it’s all part of the ambiance.
Frohe Ostern, y'all!
Frohe Ostern, y’all!
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One comment

  1. Easter is big for a couple reasons. Prior to Christianity, it was the celebration of the end of winter and the renewal of life and fecundity, thus the eggs and the rabbits and the brightness of pastel paints and such. And then in Christianity, particularly in Orthodox sects, but also amongst Catholics, the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is far more important than the story of his birth. It’s the point at which he becomes the sacrificial lamb and “saves” humanity from the sin of having been born.

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