New Year in Austria is celebrated on the date of January 1 of the Georgian calendar. It was in the year of 1691, when Pope Innocent XII officially declared January 1 as the date of the New Year, and since then Austrians celebrate New Year on January 1 with great zest and spirit.
It is also called as Sylvesterabend in Austria, referring to the soul of eminent Saint Sylvester.
Austria celebrates New Year with style and content, and one can barely find anyone close to it on those aspects. While celebrating New Year, people in Austria do ensure to dedicate it to Saint Sylvester.
Traditional celebrations of New Year in Austria involve preparing of a punch with ingredients of cinnamon, sugar, and red wine, which then is dedicated and devoted to Saint Sylvester. There is another tradition of burning of mortars, which is believed to sway all the evil spirits and negative energies of the past, and ensure everything pleasant and positive for the coming time of the New Year.
Dinner on New Year’s Eve is another prominent tradition in Austria. These dinners are prominently planned and based on the core of pig, which is considered as a symbol of good luck. Apart from the special dish of suckling pig, various other food items and ingredients such as cookies, chocolates, maple sugar, fudge, marzipan, etc. are prepared in the shape of a pig. After the traditional course with core on pig, green peppermint ice cream is served in a four leaf clover as a dessert.
The first morning of the year, i.e. on the morning of the New Year’s Day, people gather at an intended place. Small children come out of their respective houses, and visit every door of the neighborhood while singing New Year carols. New Year time also initiates a carnival called as Fasching on New Year’s Eve, which goes on till the time of Lent.
A lot of parties and balls are also thrown during the period. Social prayers are organized, where small children sing carols. A molten lead is poured in a bucket of water, and then predictions are made on the basis of the shapes formed out of the molten lead in the water. Sighting an old woman on the occasion is considered to be an inauspicious indication.
New Year Celebrations in Austria
Major celebrations for the New Tear day occur in pubs, taverns, and hotels. Special arrangements are made to ensure that they look in concord with the theme and soul of New Year. They are decorated with evergreen chaplets and coronals, confetti, and ticker tapes. It is ensured that the finest of the champagne and wine are served on the occasion. Also, street concerts and street parties are organized in abundance all over the town in Austria.
At the moment of the arrival of New Year, and clock turning twelve, wishes are exchanges with all those present around. Also churches and cathedrals ring twelve at that moment, and with that, all those present on the streets and in parties make noises, and blow trumpets and drums. Hugs and kisses are the most common way of showcasing one’s greetings and wishes to others. People dance all through the night on the tunes of the eminent Blue Danube Waltz to celebrate. Some of the prominent cities of Austria also have firework shows.
Prominent New Year Celebrations in Austria
Vienna organizes ‘Straus operetta Die Fledermaus’ in Vienna State Opera every year on New Year’s Day and on New Year’s Eve. It holds immense popularity all over the world, and sees throngs of people coming in from far off places. It is also accompanied by a performance of Vienna Philharmonic, who performs an all Strauss concert, with members of the Strauss family and contemporaries. The music being presented in the show is not only dynamic, but also wistful at the same time. In other prominent happenings on New Year in Austria, the old town of Innsbruck has brass band parades and evening fanfares.