Christmas in Austria
Without doubt Christmas is the most important holiday in Austria. As in other European nations, December 6th is the day Saint Nicholas, the giver of gifts, makes his rounds. Arrayed in a glittering Bishops robe and accompanied by his devilish assistant, Knecht Rupnecht, he can occasionally be seen roaming the streets giving sweets and apples to good children while his companion playfully beckons "little sinners" to feel the string of his golden rod.
On December 24th, when the city is frantic with last minute shoppers, the countryside is a refuge for quiet traditions. Farmers chalk the initials of the Three Wise Men on the archway of the stable door; C for Caspar, M for Melchoir, and B for Balthazar, to protect the heard from sickness in the coming year. Christmas trees are lit on this day and in many villages "shelter-seekers" plod through deep snow from farm to farm re-enacting the plight of Mary and Joseph as they sought shelter on the eve of Christ's birth.
|Course:||Celebrating Happyness in European Families|
|Book:||Christmas in Austria|
|Printed by:||Guest user|
|Date:||Thursday, 7 July 2022, 01:04 AM|
Written by Stefanie Kogler
An Advent calendar is a special calendar for the time before Christmas. It doesn't look like a typical calendar; it has 24 little boxes with numbers on it which are opened by the children once a day from the 1st of December until the 24th of December.
In these boxes you can put whatever you want. There are a lot of different kinds of Advent calendars, some are already filled with sweets (mostly with chocolate), the others you have to put something on your own.
But there are also Advent calendars showing little pictures when you open the boxes. The forms of the boxes are also very different.
Since the 19th century the Advent calendar has been a Christian custom.
Pictures: Adventcalendar made of socks
Christmas-bakery is one of the most typical things in Austria on Christmas. On Christmas-eve mostly mother or grandmother bake fine biscuits for the family and especially for the children. Sometimes also the children help to decorate the biscuits with powder-sugar or coloured sugar-pieces. In most of the families this is a traditional occupation.
Often they make biscuits with a small whole in it, to put it on the Christmas-tree with a string. All the goodies on the tree will be eaten during the Christmas-holidays as a sweet dessert after the meals. Yummy!
(Compiled by Kristina Verasto, BG Babenbergerring)
People have been decorating their Christmas trees since the eighteenth century and from that time on the look of the ornaments changed a lot. In the beginning there were no glass spheres, but eatable pastries, gingerbread and little animals made of wood. Other edible decoration was added in the eighteen hundreds: little dolls, fruits and animals made of sugar and marzipan, and also candy canes were popular. Before tinsel was invented, people cut different objects out of paper and made colored paper chains. Many of these ornaments had nothing to do with Christmas: you would find carriages, hot-air-balloons and toys hanging on the Christmas tree.
There were two cities that produced the first Christmas baubles: the Lauschaer glassblowers in Thuringia and the ones from Gablonz in Bohemia.
My family has the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with these old ornaments. We own the simple one-colored baubles, glass spheres with artful drawings, little birds and dolls, figures made of pearls, silver fire cones, bells, stars made of wire – there are a lot of variations.
Every year at Christmastime, Wiener Neustadt starts to glisten: Light strings appear over night; our own little “Christkindlmarkt” puts on its colorful lights, too; the “Punschstände” (stalls where they sell punch and hot spiced wine) decorate themselves with flashy illuminations.