Vienna: Culture and Christmas

If you are planning a trip to Vienna, its best to understand some customs that are practiced in the city. This article is going to inform you of these customs, Christmas time, and a few etiquette pieces.

                        Austrian Do’s and Don’ts


            In Austria, there are many different things that some people practice in the U.S. that are no no’s in Austria. Let’s look at things to do in Vienna Austria.  Austrians are said to be reserved and easy going, but also kind of moody and grumpy often. Austrians are not afraid to tell you that you messed something up. If someone does not approve of what you are doing, you’ll know quickly. Most of the time the locals are very nice and willing to help. Here are a few tips for travelers.

When you speak to a person who is older, you address them formally. Titles are very important in Austria and more important in business chats. You must shake hands when greeting someone. Looking them in the eyes shows honesty and sincerity. When going shopping or entering a store, you must say hello. In Austria, you will never be late for anything. Punctuality shows that you are wanting to spend time with your guest or business partners. When invited to dinner, you must be on time and bring a wrapped gift. Table manners are like the U.S., except tipping is 10% when dining out.

                        Christmas and Advent


            Advent is a season that begins four weeks before Christmas. For Four Sundays, there is a wreath and candle lighting tradition performed by families in Austria. There are Christmas carols sang and everyone is getting ready for Christmas. Often, the family will have tea, read some stories, and eat Christmas cookies. Kids are told to make a list of their wishes and make sure it’s to Christkindl. They will receive a gift during this time.

On December 5th and 6th, Krampus and St. Nikolaus play a game. Krampus is the one who will punish you for being bad and doing wrong. St. Nikolaus is the one who forgives you the next day and will visit your family to forgive you. St. Nikolaus is very nice and jolly, whereas, Krampus is scary and has on a scary mask as well. Krampus scares children and if you see him, you should just run the other way.

Christmas is by far, the most important holiday in Austria. Austrians love to celebrate the festive time of year. On Christmas Eve, the day is usually spent with close relatives. They prepare for Christmas day and decorate the tree. Carols are sung, and many stories are read in preparation for the next day. Christmas day is reserved for parties and visitors. Everyone comes together in the same place and feasts are served and devoured. All day is spent happily and discussing and thinking about presents. During this time, there are many festivities that will happen. These do not end until New Year’s Eve.