Festivals and holidays in Austria
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 — hell, accompanying Santa Claus at 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, what is file name «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 — it means to bring home trouble.
Festive calendar begins the night of 5-6 January, one of the most unusual folk festivals of 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 — it is noisy and colorful carnival, where everyone tries to outdo their neighbor mask, festival Glockenlauten in Ebensee (Salzkammergut) is accompanied by a procession «giants» in particular hats, lit from within by lanterns and Tyrolean analogs — Samenleven in Imst and Sellerhausen in nearby Nassereith is celebrated every four years in February. Interestingly, the best suits «ghosts» then exhibited in regional museums. In addition there are also numerous events of Tashinga («carnival», «the carnival») — a whole 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).
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 solstice (June 21-22) — 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 — the middle of June), the Great Viennese music festival Klangbogen Wien (mid July — the middle of 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 — 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 on racing «Formula 1″, held at the circuit A1-Ring in Spielberg in may — July.
In the Alpine areas of Austria September and October — the collection period stud 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 — the end of October) and the festival «Autumn in Styria» (end of September — the end of October) in Graz, the operetta festival in Baden (end of June — the middle of September), the most popular festival of electronic music and modern art, Ars Electronica (September) and the festival of orchestral music Brucknerfest (beginning of September — beginning of 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).