Austria is a beautiful country of jolly good people who look forward to the festival of Christmas with much enthusiasm and joy.The enchanting well-decorated markets, packed with treasures are a sight to behold. The aroma of ginger bread, cookies and fabulous gifts are too tempting to resist.
It is a very important point to note that in Austria, Children don't get to see the Christmas decorations until the Christmas Eve. Unlike America, here it is believed that it is the Christkindl, (cherubic Christ Child) who brings presents for the children. The Christmas wishes are written and kept at the windowsill for Christkindl to collect.
The lists are gathered till December 24th and in the evening when the family gets together around the decorated Christmas trees, the wishes of the children are fulfilled. Christkindl, the star is also used for the decoration of the tree besides other ornaments.
The decorated Christmas trees are also found at the square of each town, adorned with lights.
The Austrian families also have a tradition of setting up Krippe or crèche with miniature figures of the newborn Christ child and his parents. Most of these Krippe have been handed from down from one generation to another.
At midnight, the people attend the traditional Mitternachtsmette, the Midnight High Mass. The 25th and 26th Decembers are celebrated with family and friends with singing and feasting.
The Christmas trees are kept by most of the families until Epiphany, January 6. It is a day, which starts the event of three wise men from the East looking for the newly born Christ. Small children draped in oriental costumes move from house to house, singing traditional songs and receiving small gifts and money.
The Christmas celebrations at Austria are bright and induce a spirit of bonhomie and warmth amongst the celebrants.