How do Austrians celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is arguably the most important holiday in Austria. The Advent season, which comprises the four weeks leading up to the festivities, is a time for celebrating beloved traditions with family and friends.
Read on to discover some of our favourites, many of which we are keen to uphold even when we find ourselves far away from Austria over the holidays.
A Brief Guide to Celebrating Christmas the Austrian Way: Cookies, Mulled Wine, and Christmas Songs
Christmas Season in Austria is a time for celebrations and traditions. From baking Christmas cookies to singing Christmas carols and lighting a new candle on your Christmas wreath, there are a lot of ways in which you can incorporate some Austrian traditions into your holidays:
Countdown to Christmas: The Advent Calendar and Advent Wreath are two indispensable traditions around Christmas time. Both count down the time to the evening of December 24th, when the Christkind brings presents for the old and the young. For 24 days, starting on December 1, children open a door of their Calendar each day to find a cute picture or a chocolate treat. The Advent Wreath is adorned with four candles and on each of the four Sundays before Christmas, a new candle is lit - often in the company of family or friends, gathered for hot chocolate (or perhaps some mulled wine) and Christmas cookies.
Christmas Cookies: From Vanilla Crescents to Cinnamon Stars, there is a wide variety of traditional cookies Austrians love to bake during Advent. They are usually intended for family get-togethers on Sundays, as presents for hosts or for Christmas Eve, but it can be hard to resist eating them all as soon as they come out of the oven. There is always a little competition going on as to who has the best recipes. We are featuring our favourites on our website, but feel free to browse the internet for variations.
Christmas Songs: Every country has their own favourite Christmas songs, and Austria is no exception. We have compiled a list of highlights including folk songs, popular classics as well as the essential “Silent Night” song performed by the Vienna Boy's Choir. Did you know that the song originated in Austria and there is a chapel/museum commemorating the occasion in Oberndorf, just outside of the city of Salzburg?
Of course, if you do decide to visit Austria during this time of the year, you'll also be able to join in the numerous events such as the Perchten runs or the glamorous Christmas markets. Perhaps next year?
For now, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and all the best for an amazing 2023!