Festivals and holidays in Austria

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Austria has a huge number of old rural festivals, many of which have pagan roots. And with the amount of various festivals of classic music, Opera and theatre country there are few competitors in the world.

Winter

Prepare to welcome Christmas begin in early December with Christkindlmarkt – typical festive markets opened almost all cities and towns of the country. The biggest of them opening directly in front of the Vienna town hall, but no less famous fairs Domplatz in Salzburg and the Old town of Innsbruck. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day (6 December) festive procession in Innsbruck, and on the night of 5 December the Saint himself accompanied by Krampus (Austrian mythical character – traits that accompanies Santa Claus on Christmas and punishing naughty children) and sometimes angels passes at home with gifts for children. Meanwhile, dressed in costumes of devils (Krampuslaufen) run through the streets, portraying the evil spirits fleeing the righteous Saint.

Christmas (Weihnachten) in Austria – a quiet family holiday. Only on Christmas Eve, when finally distributed the gifts, crowds of people take to the streets with Psalms and go from house to house, symbolizing the three kings coming to Bethlehem. Left marks on the doors with chalk (usually three letters K, M and B, which denotes the names of the three kings – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) can then be seen throughout the country year round, because it is believed that erase them until next Christmas means to bring home trouble.

Festive calendar begins the night of 5-6 January, one of the most unusual folk festivals Austria – Perchtenlauf (“dance of the ghosts”), when the crowds of people dressed up in scary masks take to the streets with the hope of prosperity and a good harvest in the coming year. And in different lands of the country, this ancient rite in its own style. Pongour-Perchtenlauf in the valleys Pongau (Salzburg) and Western Austria is noisy and colorful carnival, where everyone tries to outdo their neighbor mask, festival Glockenlauten in Ebensee (Salzkammergut) is accompanied by a procession of “giants” in particular hats, lit from within by lanterns and Tyrolean counterparts – Samenleven in Imst and Sellerhausen in nearby Nassereith is celebrated every four years in February. Interestingly, the best costumes “ghosts” and exhibited in regional museums. In addition there are also numerous events of Tashinga (“carnival”, “carnival”) is a series of carnivals, which officially starts on 11 November and stretch as much as before Shrove Tuesday (Faschingsdienstag). During this period passes such a number of cultural, sports, religious and folk events, which after you can have nothing to celebrate.

From cultural festivals the beginning of the year interesting the Salzburg Mozart Festival (Mozartwoche, January).

Spring

Easter (Oster), Pentecost (Pfingsten) and Corpus Christi (corpus Christi means) celebrate spring framework festive decades. During this period, particularly notable religious processions in the cities of Traunkirchen and Hallstatt (Salzkammergut), during which celebrants are sent through the waters of the nearby lakes flotilla of tiny boats.

Summer

Summer solstice (June 21-22) is the traditional occasion for kindling fires on the mountains. These pagan celebration, called Bergfeuer in Invalide, or Sonnwendhof in Gasteinertal valley, are exactly the same as our Midsummer night, only the mountains descend wheels of fire, much higher.

In the summer, which is considered here the culmination of the festival season, deserve the attention of the Vienna festival of music, Opera and theatre arts Wiener Festwochen (may – mid June), Large Vienna music festival Klangbogen Wien (mid July – mid August), Jazzfest is a two-week (July, Vienna), festival of experimental arts Sommer Szene (June and July) and the Salzburger Festspiele (July-August) in Salzburg is perhaps the most famous holiday of the country, collecting hundreds of the best performers of classical music and operetta, jazz and cinema world.

Well-known chamber music festival Superted (Schubertiade, June) in Schwarzenberg (Vorarlberg), the prestigious international chamber music festival Kammermusikfest (July) in Lockenhaus (Burgenland) and picturesque Opera festival under the open sky Bregenzer Festspiele (performances are held on a floating stage located directly on lake Constance).

World famous are also classical music festival Styriarte (mid June – mid July) in Graz, international festival of classical chamber music Musikwoche (July – August) in Millstatt (Carinthia), lake operetta festival under the open sky Seefestspiele (mid June – August, the main concerts take place on Saturdays and Sundays) in Mörbisch am see (Burgenland).

A few stand popular “Austrian Woodstock” Festgelande – a whole series of outdoor music festivals held in the period from June to October in the village of Wiesen (Wiesen, 15 km South-West of Eisenstadt, Burgenland) and the Grand Prix of Austria at the races “Formula 1”, held at the circuit A1-Ring in Spielberg in may – July.

Autumn

In the Alpine areas of Austria September and October – the period of collection of herds from the Alpine pastures, where they spend the summer. Festivals dedicated to the end of the agricultural season, commonly called Almabtrieb and celebrate with a truly national scope. October is here often called “the month of the pumpkin”, so the festival Cubicfeet devoted to this popular vegetable, is held in almost every town agricultural areas. Many guests gather for the international Haydn festival (Haydntage, September) in Eisenstadt, the avant-garde festival Steirischer Herbst (end of September – end of October) and the festival “Autumn in Styria” (end of September – end of October) in Graz, the operetta festival in Baden (end of June – mid September), the most popular festival of electronic music and modern art, Ars Electronica (September) and the festival of orchestral music Brucknerfest (early September – early October) in Linz.

On the eve of All Saints Day (Allerheiligen, November 1) thousands of citizens go to the cemetery to honor the departed, and came from rural communes try to visit ancestral graveyards and to travel around the country these days is not easy. Typical Austrian festival of Saint Barbara, patroness of miners and miners, mining takes place in all areas like Leoben Styria or of Eisenerz and accompanied by an essential parades and special Church services (4 December or next Sunday).

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