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Winter Holiday Traditions in Salzburg small logo

A krampus in a Krampus day parade!
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Krampus Day - December 5th

Although some parts of Austria celebrate Krampus day on the 6th, the 5th of December has traditonally been the day that devil-like Krampus roam the streets punishing those for their bad doings thoughout the year. They are often accompanied by St. Nicholas and can be found in parades in the evening. The Krampus, as seen below, often wear wooden masks, are dressed in animal furs, and often carry bells, chains, whips, and baskets with them. In case you were wondering about the baskets, they carry them on their backs in case the Krampus need to take away the children who've been bad throughout the year.

Saint Nicholas Day - December 6th

Although Saint Nicholas often accompanies the Krampus on their parade through the streets on December 5th, he also brings children candy, fruit and small toys if they are good during the year. During the parade, he is often seen carrying a book - a book which holds the names of all the both bad and good little girls and boys. Children often put their boots out on the window sill or in front of their bedroom door in hopes of receiving candy from St. Nicholas. The tradition of receiving candy, fruit, or small presents in ones shoes has actually been brought over to parts of the U.S. from europe. In Austria and Germany, the tradition (which may vary slightly in different parts of the country) is that the boots of good children will be filled with goodies on December 6th by St. Nicholas. Those children who were bad during the year receive coal, sticks, or potatoes. Click here to find out more information about german Saint Nicholas customs.

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Die Salzburger Christkindlmarkt - Nov 23rd thru Dec 24th

The "Salzburger Christkindlmarkt" or Salzburg Christmas Market is traditionally held at the Dome square in front of St. Peter's Cathedral as well as Residenzplatz (residence square) in the heart of the old city. Like other christmas markets, you can find a wide variety of seasonal food, drinks, and hand-crafted items here. The Christkindlmarkt is normally open most of the day, so you can browse the stalls at your ease. Just remember, it is as cold in Salzburg as Ohio, you you'll probably want either some Gluehwein (hot spiced wine) or punsch (punch) to keep you warm while you are looking around.

The Tradition of Silent Night

The song "Stille Nachte" ("Silent night" as we know it in English) originates from the town of Oberndorf through the collaborative efforts of two friends - Josef Franz Mohr and Franx Xaver Gruber. The song was first performed on December 24th, 1818 at the St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf (about 10 km or 6.2 miles away from Salzburg). Since then, the song has been become world renown has been translated into over 200 different languages.

To find out more information about "Stille Nacht", you can take a look at the following websites: The official website of the Silent Night Museum (German Version)
Silent Night website at (has a webcam in Oberndorf) (German Version)
The Silent Night Museum website by Bill Egan
The lyrics to Silent Night in 130 different languages at silent night web

Note: Unless otherwise stated, the links should be in english. If there is a german version available, the separate link will be accessible under "(German version)".

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