Numerous and often locally different Easter customs are part of the public holidays in South Tyrol.
Easter customs in South Tyrol already begin on Palm Sunday, when the last one to get up this morning is chosen as the “Palmesel” (Palm Donkey). Later in the church the palm branches, or palm bushes, are consecrated: these are long wooden sticks to which catkins, olive branches, spring flowers, colourful ribbons and beautifully decorated Easter eggs are tied. It is meant to remind us how the people of Jerusalem paid homage to Jesus. The consecrated branches are then burned in the stove to protect the house and the yard in case of thunderstorms.
Four days later, on Holy Thursday, the Easter eggs are traditionally coloured, the next day - Good Friday - is a day of strict fasting and then there is Easter, which brings the children colourful Easter eggs and many a treat from the Easter bunny. And of course the traditional Easter egg hunt must not be missed! Many people prepare also a basket with delicacies, such as Easter bread, Easter ham, horseradish and coloured Easter eggs, it is called the “Geweihte”. This basket is consecrated in the church on Easter Sunday and then eaten at home.
Easter eggs, a fertility symbol, on the other hand, are tested in egg tapping (”Eierpecken”, in German): who selected the most robust egg? Various events are also part of the spring festival, including the traditional Easter concerts of the music bands.