Christmas In Austria

By: Dylan Cook & Terionna Inman

Austria

AEvery town will also have a large Christmas Tree in the town square. In homes, trees are decorated with gold and silver ornaments and stars made from straw.

Christmas in Austria really starts around 4.00pm on Christmas Eve ('Heilige Abend') when the tree is lit for the first time and people come to sing carols around the tree. The most famous carol is Silent Night ('Stille Nacht'), which was written in Austria in 1818.

The national pop radio station Ö3 has special Christmas 'jingles' and plays Christmas music from 4.00pm on 'Heilige Abend'. It's used by many people as the 'soundtrack' to the start of Christmas. This is the version of 'Stille Nacht' played on Ö3 in 2007.

Traditionally the Christmas tree is brought in and decorated on Christmas Eve. Decorations include candles (now often electric and) and sparklers. For children, other important decorations are sweets such as small liqueur-filled chocolate bottles, chocolates of various kinds, jelly rings and 'Windbäckerei' (meringue, usually in the form of rings, stars, etc.).

Some children believed that the 'Christkind' decorates the tree. The Christkind also brings presents to children on Christmas Eve and leaves them under the tree. (The Christkind is described as a golden-haired baby, with wings, who symbolizes the new born Christ.)

Some children might also get a present from St Nicholas on December 6th. http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/austria.shtml