In Salzburg we have a lot of wonderful christmas traditions, which are completely different to the ones in the US.
We already begin with the Christmas time at the time of Advent with the Christmas markets by the end of November. We have of course the well known “Krampus” or “Percht” in this area. Originally the “Percht” is a ugly figure with horn and fur to scary the winter ghosts. It is an old tradition which should protect the people before the strong winter times. Very similar in actual times – but a complete different figure in history – is the “Krampus”. This is just the companion of the Holy Saint Nicolaus. Also known as “Knecht Ruprecht” who is here to punish the bad kids, while the brave ones get their presents on the 6th of December from Saint Nicolaus. Saint Nicolaus is looking very similar to Santa Claus in the US or in within english speaking world. With his red coat and the white beard he looks trustful and gives a good feeling to everyone.
In Salzburg you can also find the FURIOUS HUNT on the 2nd Thursday during the Advent season around the Untersberg mountain. More details and some pictures you’ll find on our Blog. It is an honor if you can see them.
The christmas markets can be found in nearly every village. Especially in the main cities you can find a lot of markets with small huts, which offer presents, the well known spicy wine (“Glühwein”) and of course a lot of delicious warm and cold dishes. The most famous christmas market is the big one in Salzburg city in front of the main cathedral – the Dom. We have a lovely one at palace of Hellbrunn which is integrated in the barock styled palace area (right beside and around the Gazebo of the famous sound of music movie). And of course the small hidden one directly in St. Peter’s Abbey – you enter it at the way to the oldest restaurant St. Peters (for sure the oldest one with ongoing restaurant business here in Europe – status at the moment to check with one in China to get the title the oldest one in the world).