With thirteen official holidays throughout the year, Austria is very generous with its public holidays. Of these, ten are specifically religious in origin. Even if the holiday falls on a weekend, it is always observed on the day on which it falls. Holidays are not moved to the nearest Monday, nor do workers get a free day in compensation for a holiday falling on a non-work day.
National Day, 26th October, is the year’s patriotic celebration, marking the return of national sovereignty at the end of the post-World War II occupation.
Of the religious holidays, six are ‘movable feasts’; linked to Easter, their dates change from year to year. In addition, although Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend) is not an official holiday, it is an important family day, so most of Austria shuts down at midday. Also, many workers take the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
These are the official holidays in Austria for 2012:
January 1 Sunday Neues Jahr New Year’s Day
January 6 Friday Dreikönigsfest Epiphany
April 9 Monday Ostermontag Easter Monday
May 1 Tuesday Tag der Arbeit Labour Day
May 17 Thursday Christi Himmelfahrt Ascension Day
May 28 Monday Pfingstmontag Pentecost Monday
June 7 Thursday Fronleichnam Corpus Christi
August 15 Wednesday Maria Himmelfahrt Assumption of Mary
October 26 Friday Nationalfeiertag National Day
November 1 Thursday Allerheiligen All Saints’ Day
December 8 Saturday Maria Empfängnis Immaculate Conception
December 25 Tuesday Weihnachtstag Christmas
December 26 Wednesday Stephanitag St. Stephen’s Day
Public holiday are observed widely. Most businesses close for them, and public transportation runs on holiday schedules. However, in Salzburg and other tourist centres, restaurants, attractions and even some shops remain open.
Austria observes Daylight Savings. In 2012, clocks go forward one hour on 25th March (GMT+2). Standard Time (GMT +1) resumes on 28th October.
Fröhliche Weihnachten und Alles Gute für das Neue Jahr!