Christmas In Austria

by Alex Daniels - Date: 2006-12-05 - Word Count: 408 Share This!

In Austria Christmas begins on the feast of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is the historical 'Santa'. He was a priest from Myra, which is part of modern-day Turkey. He is also the patron saint of children, Russia and sailors. His feast date falls on December 6th. Good children are given candy, nuts and fruits.

On Christmas Eve, the Christkindl (Christ Child), a golden-haired baby, brings the children their presents. Austrians, generally speaking, don't believe in Santa Claus. He also decorates the tree. Throughout the holiday season, Austrians attend Christmas Markets with lots of holiday decorations and edible treats. If you live close enough to Salzburg, you will probably attend the Adventsingen. This performance, which attracts a world-wide audience, is full of folklore and music.

Austrian families decorate their homes with the Tannenbaum, a Christmas tree, which is a throw-back to their Germanic history. Many also have a crèche, which is a small the Nativity scene. Baby Jesus is NOT placed in the scene until Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, Christkindl arrives. Children are summoned by bell ringing and led into the Christmas room, which is now fully decorated and filled with presents. Families open their presents and begin celebrating this holiest of holidays by singing carols, especially Silent Night (Stille Nacht), a uniquely Austrian creation. This carol was first heard at Midnight (Mitternachtsmette) at the Church of St. Nicholas in 1818. Fr. Joseph Mohr penned the lyrics; the melody was composed by Franz Xavier Gruber. At the time, Fr. Mohr was the church's assistant pastor and Mr. Gruber, the choir director.

After Mitternachtsmette, people return home to eat. Fried carp (Gebackner Karpfen) is a traditional main course. Veal and other kinds of meat are also found on many tables. Desserts might include chocolate and apricot cake and Austrian Christmas cookies. Yummy.

On Christmas day, Austrians quietly celebrate the birth of Jesus. They usually get together with family and friends. The 26th is St. Stephen's Day. This is another day off from work and school. It's also another opportunity for get-togethers. Austrians keep their Christmas trees up until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. This is the day that the Church believes that the Three Wise Men brought the Christkindl his gifts. On this day boys and girls dressed in costumes go from house to house singing songs. They receive gifts and treats for their efforts.

Christmas in Austria lasts for a good month. It's a time of peace, joy, inspiration and cheer.

Alex consults for a wedding supply outlet specializing in cheap wedding favors and other quality, wedding stuff.
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