The Altwiener Ostermarkt, Freyung (Old Vienna Easter market at Freyung Square) was smaller and more interesting than the market at Schonbrunn. In the middle of the square is what is advertised as, 40,000 decorated Easter eggs are for sale. It seems like more. They sit in flats under umbrellas, each hand painted, or, in some cases, shells with designs cut into them. Broken egg shells were stuffed with “Easter grass” nests for little bunnies. Shoppers could buy one or several dozen to decorate their homes, wreathes or trees. Folks carried sagging cardboard egg flats from the market through the rain. The sheer number of hand decorated hollow Easter eggs was mindboggling. Eggs not only sat in flats but hug from the umbrellas that sheltered us from the rain.
Around the perimeter (See the next post) of the square booths sell handicrafts, I bought an olive wood egg. One sold live rabbits. The food market and the wine tasting booths were across the street. I have a picture of a group of umbrellas huddled around a round table. The umbrellas interlocked in a way that guaranteed the soggy diners complete privacy. Across the back of a row of the booths is a 40 meter (130 foot) long mural of the Passion of Christ painted for this 25th anniversary of the fair by Dorothea Neudorf. The Freyung market, while not fasting, at least seemed to balance pagan springtide traditions, (eggs, rabbits, food) with the Christian message.