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Austria: monasteries, carols and crèches to get ready for Christmas

In Austria, Advent has always been a time in which the typical spiritual and folkloristic traditions mix together, providing a wide array of ideas to the devotees and to the many tourists that walk the paths of faith. So, Advent has always been “monastery time”, and the national association “Klösterreich” offers many “contemplative and conscious experiences”. The Benedictine monastery of Kremsmünster offers one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Upper Austria, while the monastery of Prälatenhof provides its courtyards and cloisters to 120 craftsmen who wish to display their wares. For those who love a traditional crèche, until 1st January the Cistercian abbey of Rein invites people to see the “Gemma Kripperlschauen” exhibition (Let’s go see the crèches), with a wide range of typical Upper Austrian specimens, such as the Garstner monumental mechanical Nativity and an ancient wrought-iron crèche dating back to 1825, from the noble Mayer family. The impressive group of buildings that make up the abbey of Melk organises the International Advent Song Festival. And, speaking of the most famous Christmas carol in the world, “Stille Nacht”, the national association “Stille Nacht Gesellschaft” has opened a website, from which people can get copies of the original score written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr, a young priest, and set to music by Franz Xaver Grube on Christmas’ Eve 1818: on the website, people can also download materials for a traditional Advent calendar.


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