As spring bursts forth – so does the city’s baroque joie de vivre
In March, as spring begins in Salzburg, nature wakes up all around. Almost from one day to the next, the city reminds us of what a truly verdant place it is. Mirabellgarten park is home to a thousand crocuses, then to snowflakes and tulips. The trees along the sides of the Salzach, and on the hills in and around the city, all begin to acquire a veil of green, seemingly from one moment to the next. Even if a cheeky flurry of snow leaves the city dusted in white, the tide has turned and the snow has no permanence.
Tables and chairs are set up outside the cafés, and all kinds of colours join the budding greens around the city. The fountains are taken out of their winter casing, and on Markartplatz square the magnolia trees are in full bloom. As people celebrate Easter the new zest for life around the city calls for colourful Dirnd dresses, worn with pride and confidence by the women of Salzburg, and by many women from other towns and cities.
At Easter traditional customs play a key role as this part of the year unfolds. Palm bushes are tied and eggs are painted. The Easter markets around the town sell special treats such as Osterpinzen sweetbreads, and the wild garlic that grows in tons in the Hellbrunn area. No church bells can be heard in Salzburg from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. On Good Friday believers begin their pilgrimages and the Passion scenes that have adorned the altars for weeks are now removed. In some churches, such as the monastic church of St. Peter or the parish church in Grödig, holy graves can be viewed on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
The Easter celebrations are also a sign for the arrival for an international group of celebrities that comes to attend the annual Easter Festival, established in 1967 by Salzburg’s star conductor Herbert von Karajan. In parallel, for over 40 years now the state apartments of the Residenz zu Salzburg have played host to the well-reputed art and antiques show: ‘Art&Antique Residenz Salzburg’.
Spring also heralds the return of the city’s baroque spirit, and at the end of April the deeply traditional Georgi-Ritt held up in the grounds of Festung Hohensalzburg is a reminder that the first signs of summer are just around the corner.