St. Leopold's Day in Austria Date in the current year: November 15, 2016

St. Leopold's Day in Austria November 15 is annual celebration of St. Leopold's Day, the patron saint of Austria. This is a public holiday in some parts of Austria, in Vienna and Lower Austria, to be exact.

The feast commemorates St. Leopold III, who was the Margrafe of Austria from 1095 till his death on November 15, 1136. Leopold III was canonized by Pope Innocent VII in 1485, who established November 15 as a day to commemorate the great commander. Emperor Leopold I declared St. Leopold III the patron saint of Austria in 1663.

St. Leopold is known for his efforts to establish numerous monasteries in the uninhabited regions of Austria. And due to him the cities of Vienna, Krems an der Donau and Klosterneuburg were established and gained further development. St. Leopold III was buried in the abbey he established in Klosterneuburg. His skull is kept in an embroidered reliquary, that leaves his forehead open.

St. Leopold's Day features one interesting tradition, that is observed in the abbey, where the saint was burred. The tradition is called Fasselrutschen, that can be translated as “the slide of the great cask”. The event takes place in the wine cellar. All participants claim a narrow staircase, leading to the top of an enormous cask built in 1704, and slide down its smooth side to a soft mat laying at its base. The faster the trip, the better luck the person will have the next year.

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