Advent festivities and Christmas Markets on a seasonal trip to Salzburg
Christmas is a beautiful time of year for relaxing with loved ones, witnessing children’s faces light up and immersing in beautiful music and décor. But for many, it can be a stressful time, being busy with holiday preparations or, worse yet, left disappointed because their magical expectations of a joyous season fell below the mark.
If you have felt this way about Christmas in the past, a visit to the city of Salzburg can renew your joy in this enchanting time of year. For the entire Advent season, this city located in SalzburgerLand becomes alive and contagiously spreads the Christmas spirit to every visitor that enters its realm.
Music is a very important facet of Salzburg’s Advent season. The city is not only known as the birthplace of Mozart, but also of Joseph Mohr, a priest who composed the famous Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night”. It was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818 at a chapel in Oberndorf (just outside of Salzburg). Throughout the lead up to Christmas, the Silent Night Museum in Oberndorf offers pageants, lantern walks and a Christmas Eve memorial in honor of the carol.
Numerous captivating concerts take place right in Salzburg, generally beginning the first week of December or earlier. From the 200 singers on stage at the Great Festive Hall to Advent serenades and carol singing get togethers, there are plenty of musical celebrations to choose from throughout the festive city.
While exploring Salzburg, you’ll undoubtedly feel like a child on Christmas morning again as you take in the streets adorned with lights and the medieval and Baroque architecture of the Old Town, observe the snow-capped trees and roofs and breathe in the crisp, fresh air. Several visual art forms are showcased especially for the holiday season, such as numerous nativity displays and a special Christmas exhibit at the Cathedral Museum. You might even be startled by the mystical Krampus and Perchten roaming the streets or surrounding hills. Krampus refers to the wild costumed characters that punish bad children and accompany St. Nicholas who rewards the well-behaved children. Perchten are frightening creatures and come out on St. Nicholas eve, Winter Solstice and Epiphany to try and scare winter away.
But one of the true highlights of the Advent season are the Christmas Markets in Salzburg. The Christkindlmarkt tradition dates back more than 500 years. Salzburg’s first Christmas Market was set up in the Cathedral Square (also known as “Domplatz”) and is the city’s most popular yuletide bazaar. Named the Salzburg Christmas Market, it generally opens at the end of November. Visitors are tempted by the alluring aromas of Glühwein or roasted chestnuts and the sound of choirs, church bells and brass ensembles. The wooden stalls offer a selection of Christmas treats and gifts, from traditional baked goods like “Lebkuchen” (the German term for gingerbread) to handcrafted items.
However, this is not the only Christmas Market in Salzburg. There are numerous others that take place during or for the entire season of Advent. For example, the Advent Magic market at Hellbrun Palace allows visitors to wander the romantically lit courtyard and feast their eyes on a gigantic advent calendar. Children adore attending this market where they get to meet reindeer and other animals face to face.
Another market situated within royal splendour is the Mirabell Square Market situated in front of the palace by the same name. With Christmas performances three or four times a week, patrons will marvel at the sheer variety of items the stalls offer. From jewellery, wool products and fragrant oils to chocolates, liqueurs, nativity carvings and toys, Mirabell Market seems to have it all. Whether you prefer seasonal music, vibrant decorations or holiday magic that stimulates all of the senses, you are sure to experience a Storybook Christmas in Austria’s Salzburg.
For more information on SalzburgerLand and walking holidays in Austria (including winter walking ideas), visit: TouchingNature.co.uk
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