Friday, 26 December 2014

A Traditional Austrian Christmas

Hey hey!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it! And to those who don’t, I hope you had a lovely Wednesday.

I decided to spend Christmas with my family in Austria this year as I was so close anyway so I wanted to share with you all what a traditional Austrian Christmas looks like. There are many things that are different compared to New Zealand (and other cultures of course), with the most prominent being that we celebrate it on the 24th in the evening.

There are heaps of cool traditions here that make Austria a super special place to be for Christmas, my favourite being “keks”, a variety of home made Christmas cookies that find their way onto every coffee table throughout the whole Christmas month. 
The Christmas tree is donned with bees wax candles (although this year ours were electronic), chocolates, beautiful hand crafted glass baubles and other simple, tasteful decorations.
We generally have the Christmas dinner celebration with most of my family and then on the 25th or 26th we have another lunch at a restaurant with the remaining family that celebrate separately on the 24th

This year the Christmas dinner was held at my auntie Margit’s house. We started off with peach schnapps and then went on to feast on an amazing big dinner. A very traditional food to eat for dinner in general in Austria is a whole bunch of different breads, cheeses, meats, spreads etc. We basically had a glorified version of this for our Christmas dinner and it was incredible.
After dinner, the “Christkind” (sorta like the Austrian version of Santa Claus, described as a golden haired baby with wings who represents the new born Christ) works its magic around the Christmas tree - which is when all of the presents go underneath - and a ringing bell can be heard. This signals that the Christkind is finished and we can go into the living room to sing carols around the tree (fun fact: Silent Night, originally "Stille Nacht", was written in Austria in 1818) and then open presents. It’s super cute.

We finished the night by skyping mum who was lazing on a beach in the Abel Tasman National Park, listening to a Louie Armstrong record, eating keks and drinking wine. Mmmmmmm, bliss.

I find different Christmas traditions in different cultures really interesting, even more so because we don’t really have any in New Zealand. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about an Austrian Christmas! :)

Happy holidays and thanks for reading,

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