If you want to know what’s happening in Graz on New Year’s Eve, read about it in my other blog post: Celebrating New Year’s in Graz.
Last year I wrote about the Christmas Traditions in Austria. This year, I t hought it would be interesting to find out more about what New Year’s looks like in Austria.
Christmas Eve is called “Silvester” in Austria, taking the name from the catholic Saint of 31st December. Similarly to many other countries, in Austria you celebrate with family and friends. You eat together and then go outside before midnight to see fireworks.
Here’s what you should do if you want to celebrate New Year’s the Austrian way.
Eat Raclette (or Fondue)
Raclette is a cheese dish that comes originally from Switzerland. However, it is quite common to eat in Austria on special occasions.
The cheese used for this is called itself Raclette. You take a whole cheese round and cut it in half. You heat the flat side by facing it towards a flame or heat. Then you scrape the melted cheese off onto the guest’s plates. It is usually accompanied by potatoes, bread, salami, ham and pickles.
This is what a modern raclette may look like:
Bleigießen (= pouring led) is a fun tradition, with which you predict your future for the new year. It works like this:
You place small figurines made of led (nowadays other metallic materials) on a spoon, which you hold over a flame. Once the led is melted, you pour it into cold water.
The led will harden into a new shape, from which you should interpret your fortune for the new year.
Gift figurines for good luck
It’s traditional on New Year’ Eve in Austria to gift small figurines to friends and family for good luck. These figures are shaped like either pigs, four-leaf clovers, ladybugs or chimney sweeps. They can be made of ceramics, or plastic, but they can also be edible (chocolate or marzipan usually). They can also include a 1-cent coin.
You can buy them usually at the Christmas markets or in supermarkets.
Watch Dinner for One
Every year on 31st December most of Austria’s population sits down to watch Dinner for One. This tradition is spread also in Germany and Switzerland.
“Same procedure as last year?”
Dance Walzer at Midnight
As soon as the clock strikes midnight, the Blue Danube Walzer from Strauss starts playing and everybody starts dancing. Most Austrians learn Walzer in school to prepare for prom night.
Have a look at this mesmerizing video, created in Vienna in 2015: