Halloween may not be a traditional event in Austria but certain parts of the country celebrate it in their own way.
In a town near Vienna called Retz, a Pumpkin Festival is being held each year. This kind of festival known locally as Kurbisfest featuresr pumpkins, parties and a Halloween parade.
The region where Retz belongs is also popular for its yearly pumpkin harvest. Called Bluza in the regional dialect, this harvest season focuses on the family and the pumpkin is the centerpiece.
Another similar event in Austria is nown as Martinstag or Martini. This is the feast of St. Martin of Tours which is observed every November 11. During this event, children wear costumes and join a lantern procession.
In Austria, the Martini event is a children’s affair. The kids are normally asked to make paper lanterns in school which they then use in an evening procession. A rider on a white horse depicting St. Martin and his red cloak leads the procession. A bonfire ends the procession in some areas.
Legend has it that St. Martin was forced to cut his red cloak in half in order to share it with a beggar during a snowstorm. Another story relates that St. Martin hid in a stable filled with geese but was later discovered by the people of Tours which led to his consecration as a bishop. For this reason, his feast is also often associated with the serving of baked goose among families.