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Learn more about how Austrians spend their advent and Christmas time

Good Jul
19. December 2016

These are the most well-known Austrian traditions during the darker and colder period of the year

Often these days are spent on small Christmas markets, spread out all over Austria.

There are many similarities as to how Swedes and Austrian spend the four weeks before Christmas.

Just like in Sweden, also Austrians have four candles during the so called advent time of the year. Instead of having them in one row, Austrians place the candles on a circle of evergreens called “Adventkranz”. On all four Sundays before Christmas an additional candle is lit. The advent Sundays are usually celebrated with some Austrian punch or Glühwein together with some small self-baked Christmas cookies. The most well-known of the cookies is certainly the gingerbread “Lebkuchen”, similar to the Swedish version “pepparkaka”.

When looking at the festivities in the alpine regions of Austria “Krampusses” and “Perchten” are driving bad spirits out of the cities and villages on 5 December, the official Krampus day. If you want to know more about it, we recommend Christoph Waltz’ explanation, available here .

The day after is followed by Saint Nicolaus who brings small Nicolaus bags filled with sweets and cookies to small children.

The Christmas day is the 24 December and usually celebrations start later in the afternoon at 5 or 6 pm. Families gather around a candles-lit and colorfully decorated Christmas tree with presents underneath. Different to many other countries, in Austria it is not Santa Claus who brings the presents but small Jesus Christ – the so called “Christkindl”. The tradition foresees that “Christkindl” flies into the living rooms of families to leave the presents underneath the Christmas trees but always enters when no one is there. Therefore, no one has ever actually seen Christkindl in their homes.

Advantage Austria Stockholm wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!