© Photo: Oberösterreich Tourismus GmbH/Robert Maybach: Lantern in the water at the Wolfgangsee Advent in St. Wolfgang
Lantern in the water at the Wolfgangsee Advent in St. Wolfgang

Advent and winter traditions in Upper Austria

Niko* gives...

...and everyone is delighted because he arrives during the most wonderful time of the year. Apples, nuts, roasted almonds, sweets — his gifts carry the scents of Advent and Christmas. Just like the many Christkindl markets that open their stalls all over Upper Austria. Anticipation blankets the land, crackling with excitement. Joy for the Christkindl, departing from Steyr into the Silent Night. For the New Year. For the Twelve Nights of Christmas or Rauhnächte with their many customs, like the Glöckler Runs and the smudging rituals.


*St. Nicholas (born around 270) is said to have given gifts to needy people and especially children as the Bishop of Myra. From this, the tradition of St. Nicholas Eve emerged, which in Upper Austria, on 6 December, bestows small pre-Christmas gifts upon children.

Enchanting Christmas season


With fragrant treats and authentic craftsmanship, Advent markets define the most special time of the year. Deeply rooted are the traditions that accompany us around Christmas and the New Year. From crafting nativity scenes to participating in the Glöckler Runs, from celebrating forest-themed Christmas events to experiencing the Advent at a castle, from meeting the Steyr Christkindl to partaking in the Linz candle-making workshops.

New Year's Eve in Upper Austria

Upper Austria knows how to ring in the New Year with a bang. Here, too, the arrival of the New Year is welcomed with champagne and fireworks. In many cities, the last night of the old year seamlessly transitions into the first of the new with a long and fabulous party. However, there are also entirely different ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Upper Austria: wandering through the historic streets of Steyr with a night watchman, in style on a boat along the Danube or in total relaxation at a spa.

New Year's customs and expelling winter

It’s New Year’s Day, and a loud crack cuts through the air outside the Landhaus in Linz. Seasoned men welcome the new year by cracking whips. This tradition, known as ‘Aperschnalzen’, marks the beginning of the year of customs in Upper Austria.

On the final night of Christmas, from 5 to 6 January, the Glöckler roam the Salzkammergut region. Dressed in white garments, adorned with bells and brightly decorated lighted caps, they move in groups through the approaching night. But other regions of Upper Austria have their own customs for this night: the Innviertler Maschkerer go door-to-door in disguise, entertaining with their antics. Those who miss the Twelve Nights of Christmas carolling in Nebelberg in the Mühlviertel region will require lots of patience, as this spectacle only occurs once every ten years.