Austrian Christmas Traditions

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Austrian Christmas traditions involve many unique holiday activities. Learn more about the Christmas traditions in Austria with this free holiday video.

Part of the Video Series: Christmas Traditions Around the World
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Video Transcript

We are talking about different Christmas traditions from around the world. In Austria, the beginning of Christmas is actually marked on December 6th with Saint Nicholas Day. Then, actually, St. Nicholas appears with the devil, it is said, and asks the children whether or not they have been good. And if they have been good, they actually get some treats on December 6th, and those are little fruits and candies and nuts. And if the children have been bad, they don't get anything. They do actually have Christmas trees in Austria, and the gifts are left there, and the children in Austria get to open their gifts after Christmas Eve dinner. Now the song, "Silent Night", was actually sung for the very first time in 1818 in the town of Orberndorf. And legend has it that that was the night that was actually almost ruined--the Christmas that was almost ruined--when the priest went into the church and discovered that the organ had been damaged. The pipes had some holes in them, so they weren't able to play any music and the priest was just devastated at the thought. And so he showed Franz Gruber, who was the church organist, a hymn--a Christmas hymn--that he had written, and Franz quickly whipped up some music on the guitar and they actually were able to save Christmas that way with the song "Silent Night." Christmas in Austria sounds very lovely and like a lot of fun.

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