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Easter tombs - a Mediaeval tradition
Tombs inside the church at Easter? That was a tradition that was very much frowned upon by Emperor Joseph II who, thus, promptly banned them. The custom of transforming the church chancel on Good Friday and Holy Saturday into a Holy Sepulchre originated way back in the Early Middle Ages and, after the death of the Emperor, the tradition was quickly rekindled and still exists today.
For some time now the practise of recreating the Holy Sepulchre has been enjoying increasing popularity. Tombs that have been in disuse for a long time are taken out of storage, restored and placed in position in the chancel, sometimes at the beginning of Holy Week, sometimes later on Maundy Thursday. They generally remain on display until Easter Monday, but sometimes even stay in place over the Octave of Easter, i.e. until the first Sunday after Easter.
The tradition is particularly observed in the villages of Axams, Igls, Patsch, Natters, Mutters, Götzens, Birgitz, Kematen and Oberperfuss.