Saint Florian’s Day

Saint Florian’s Day is a public holiday that’s observed annually on the 4th of May in Austria every year. It’s a state holiday in this country, but many businesses remain open on this day despite that fact. Schools, banks, and non-essential government offices, however, are closed, so some people have the opportunity to enjoy this day as a general day off.

This holiday commemorates the feast day of Saint Florian — the patron saint of Linze, Austria, and the patron saint of firefighters, chimney sweeps, and soapmakers. This saint is also the patron of Upper Austria—which he shares with Saint Leopold.

A Brief Biography Of Saint Florian

Saint Florian was a Christian holy man who was born in 250 AD in the city of Aelium Cetium—which would be modern-day Sankt Polten, Austria—in the Roman Empire. He would join the Roman Army and advanced very quickly through the ranks.

He would eventually become a commander of the Imperial Army in the Roman province of Noricum and was tasked not only with the usual military duties a Roman soldier would be tasked with doing but also with organizing firefighting brigades.

While Christians were being persecuted during the Diocletianic Persecution of Christians, reports reached Rome that Florian wasn’t enforcing proscriptions against the Christians in his territory. Aquilinus was sent to find out if these reports were true. When he arrived, he ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods.

Florian refused and was sentenced to be burned at the stake. According to reports, Florian stood on the funeral pyre and challenged the Roman soldiers to light the fire and see that he was not afraid of their torture. The Romans didn’t end up burning him to death at the stake but instead executed him by drowning him in the Enns River.

Observing Saint Florian’s Day

On this day, some people have the day off and they use this day off to attend religious services devoted to the Feast of Saint Florian. The hashtag #SaintFloriansDay is also used on social media to spread the word about this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Austria (State holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
May 4 Thursday
Next year (2024)
May 4 Saturday
Last year (2022)
May 4 Wednesday