Advent is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful seasons in the city of Salzburg. When the first snowflakes swirl in the air, when children start to build snowmen in the Mirabell Gardens and the scent of mulled wine wafts through the narrow streets, even the surliest characters become hopelessly romantic.
A walk on Salzburg’s city mountains affords a breathtaking view of the city’s snow-covered rooftops, domes and steeples. The ringing of the bells reminds us that Christmas is approaching. Back down in the city, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas market exudes pleasant warmth and wakens long-forgotten memories of childhood. Who can resist the scent of punch and toasted almonds, hot chestnuts and freshly baked apples, gingerbread hearts, nativity figurines, Christmas ornaments, toys or hand-knitted wool socks!
Perchten and Krampusses (wild spirits) in many different styles and shapes can be seen throughout the Bavarian and Austrian alpine region during the winter season. They are frightening and not very appealing to the eye.
“Krampus” is the untamed, shaggy spirit that accompanies St. Nicholas. Krampusses usually roam in larger groups. Their traditional costumes and masks are elaborately handcrafted. Krampusses can usually be encountered on and a few days before December 6.
“Perchten” are wild pagan spirits widespread throughout the Austrian and Bavarian region. The appear alone or in groups, especially on three specific winter nights, called the “rough nights,” i.e. the night before St. Nicholas (December 6), before the winter solstice (December 21) and before Epiphany (January 6). They carry bells and other loud instruments to dispel the winter.
Nowadays the originally different Krampus and Perchten customs have merged into one in many regions.
Salzburg is the perfect venue for those who want to go to extremes at the end of the year: live music, endless eateries offering culinary delights, the ringing of the bells and a brilliant firework display above Hohensalzburg Fortress at midnight make New Year’s Eve in Salzburg a memorable vacation experience. The incomparable party zone in Salzburg’s historic city center helps shorten the time to the countdown in a fantastic atmosphere. Dancing the Blue Danube Waltz on the historic squares at midnight is an absolute must on the New Year’s Eve program in Austria
Standing singing Silent Night, Holy Night“ in the memorial chapel in Oberndorf on Christmas Eve with hundreds from throughout the world singing of the world’s most famous Christmas carol is something that touches the hardest of souls
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