Saint Rupert’s Day

In Salzburg, Austria, on the 24th of September each year, there is a regional public holiday that is observed and is known as Saint Rupert’s Day. This holiday honors the founder and the patron saint of Salzburg, Saint Rupert. He was not only the first bishop of what is now Austria but is also considered one of the most important religious figures in the country’s history.

Pilgrims and tourists from all over the world travel to the old town of Salzburg for this annual holiday. Once there, they find market traders, artisans, and people selling wares throughout the city. There are also fairs, dances, music, and folklore groups to entertain the public. It’s a day of faith and fun all rolled into one.

The History of Saint Rupert’s Day in Salzburg, Austria

Rupert of Salzburg is believed to have been born in 660, but it’s unclear whether he was Frankish and born of royal blood or if he was of Irish descent. He became the Bishop of Worms when he was asked by the Duke of Bavaria to convert the Bavarian pagan tribes to Christianity.

He spread Christianity throughout the region and was named the Apostle of the Bavarians. He then moved to do missionary work and ended up in the Roman town of Juvavum — a town that was almost in ruins.

Because this town was collecting tolls from the barges carrying salt down the Salzach River, he named the town Salzburg. “Salzburg” in German means “Salt Castle.” According to tradition, his arrival in the town increased its profile, and it soon went through a renaissance period, eventually becoming an important city-state.

Although he died on March 27th in 710, placing his feast day on the same date, his feast day in Salzburg is celebrated on the 24th of September. That’s because this is when his relics were transferred to Salzburg Cathedral in 774.

Observing Saint Rupert’s Day in Salzburg, Austria

In Salzburg, a special novena prayer and mass are held and devoted to Saint Rupert on this day. People also attend market fairs and purchase artistic creations, market wares, food, and drink. The whole city has a carnival atmosphere that lasts all day long.

Where is it celebrated?
Austria (State holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 24 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
September 24 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
September 24 Sunday