Come late November and Austria begins to gear up for Christmas. In fact natives mark a Sunday exactly four weeks before X-mas as ‘Advent’. This is when preparations for the festival begin formally and in earnest. Every Austrian family places pretty wreaths made of fresh green shoots on the Advent Sunday. Candles are lit; dinning and wining are common. On the ensuing four Sundays till Yule, families place candles near the green wreath without fail. During this time, all family members assemble at a place for praying and share popular Christmas stories.
Christmas Celebrations in Austria
Special Christmas Markets are set up across the country. In fact the one at Innsbruck is world famous and so is the annual affair at Salzburg. Though every Austrian village and town has its own festive market!
Traditions associated with the Christmas Tree and Carol Singing
Yule in Austria is incomplete without carols. One of the most celebrated carol ‘Silent Night’ was created by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr, in the year 1818. Till date, it has been interpreted into a total of 44 different languages. Austrian families are very particular about setting up X- Mas trees. In most families the tree is brought inside the house only on Christmas Eve. Guardians secretly bedeck the trees with ornaments & presents and lock the room till dusk that marks ‘Christkindle’. That is when doors to the room are opened and flooded with bright and colorful lights!
Food is an important part of Austrian celebration. People love to celebrate the festival in a traditional way by indulging in authentic Austrian delicacies. Usually, an Austrian Christmas dinner comprises goose, ham or fried carp ‘Gebackenerkarpfen’, the chocolate and apricot cake ‘Sachertorte’, cookies like ‘Sterne’ or ‘ Lebkuchen’, chocolate and wine mousse ‘Gluhwein’, and so on.
Austrians also purchase lots of gifts for their families, friends and relatives during this festive season. In short, they celebrate Christmas as a true festival of enjoyment, trust and togetherness.