The Advent customs begin with the traditional St. Barbara celebrations in the mining towns of Arzberg and Breitenau am Hochlantsch. In the past, Krampus accompanied St. Nicholas and beat the bad children; today, he makes his big appearance in the Krampus parades and Perchten parades (parades of masks – beautiful masks to bring blessings and ugly masks to ward off evil spirits).
On 5th December, the evening before the Feast of Saint Nicholas, St. Nicholas visits the children and gives the good children gifts of nuts, mandarins and treats! 21st December is the winter solstice. This longest night of the year, also known as St. Thomas’ Night, is lit up by processions of light and mountain fires.
On 24th December, the light of peace is brought into the individual localities, where it is often handed over to well-known personalities. A few days previously, the light is lit by an Upper Austrian child in Bethlehem and brought to Europe by aeroplane. This happened for the first time in 1986 due to an initiative of the ORF regional studio in Upper Austria. Then, as now, passing on the light was supposed to bring people peace from the birthplace of the Lord. At the same time, donations are collected for various projects.
The atmospheric church concert, the nativity scene exhibitions and Advent markets in the individual towns and villages are a good way to get in the mood for Christmas. Take up the offer and use the time before Christmas to get to know sides of the Almenland Nature Park with which you were previously unfamiliar.