Saint Florian’s Day

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

This holiday commemorates the feast day of Saint Florian—the patron saint of Linz, 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 born in 250 AD in the city of Aelium Cetium—which would be modern-day Sankt Pölten, Austria—in the Roman Empire. He joined the Roman Army and advanced quickly through the ranks.

He eventually became 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 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 Christians in his territory. Aquilinus was sent to find out if these reports were true. When he arrived, he ordered Florian to offer sacrifices 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 (2024)
May 4 Saturday
Next year (2025)
May 4 Sunday
Last year (2023)
May 4 Thursday