Culture & Tradition

The Custom of “Liebstatt” Sunday

The fourth Sunday in Lent, known locally as Liebstatt Sunday, literally means to confirm your love for someone. It has become a special day and a truly wonderful tradition to show that you care and “to hand out love” to your dear one in the form of a gingerbread heart symbolizing love and devotion.

“Against any type of pain, a real LIEBSTATT HEART is never in vain – that’s why in Gmunden it was cast in centuries past.

This very special tradition goes back to the year of 1641 when the Bishop of Passau, with jurisdiction over Gmunden, ordered the town priest to invite the poor to a meal on the fourth Sunday in Lent.

Liebstatt Sunday owes its beautiful name to this custom, initiated more than 350 years ago, which required the wealthy and influential citizens of the town to ‘hand out their love’ to the poor.

This custom, of course somewhat modified – has been preserved to this day.

In 2014, Liebstatt Sunday was designated as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

As every year, Liebstatt Sunday takes place in the middle of Lent, starting with a festive church service and procession with folklore clubs wearing traditional costumes, followed by the handing out of the gingerbread hearts decorated with words of love in the Gmunden Rathausplatz Square.