A custom from the Middle Age
Where: Axams, Igls, Patsch, Natters, Mutters, Götzens, Birgitz, St. Sigmund, Kematen and Oberperfuss
When: from Maundy Thursday sometimes until Divine Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter.
The Tyrolean penchant for theatrics is also expressed though the tradition of setting up "Easter graves". These scenes depict the tomb where Jesus was laid after his descent from the cross and they usually have a sombre feel. Easter graves also often features lots of lights burning behind glass balls filled with different coloured water.
Emperor Joseph II found the tradition of setting up Easter graves in churches to be a thorn in his side so he had them forbidden. The custom of building Holy Sepulchres in Catholic churches on Good Friday and Holy Saturday dates back to the early Middle Ages, however, so it did not take long after the Emperor's death before the tradition was revived. And this custom still lives on today.
Holy Graves have recently become very popular again. Tomb structures that have gone unused for many years are being taken out of storage, restored and re-erected.