Festive traditions play a big role around Christmas Eve for many families. Advent wreath, Christmas tree, Advent calendar, Barbarazweigerl or a visit of the Three Kings: All this has long since become a custom not only in Christian households. Although each household or family has its own personal tradition, but there are quite typical regional.
In the capital, tradition-loving families eat carp in all possible forms on Christmas Eve. Especially as aspic, soup, fillet or stuffed with potatoes and vegetables, the fish is extremely popular. The dish is best served with potato or cucumber salad, salted potatoes or remoulade. The Christmas classic has been a tradition in Central Europe for a long time: when Advent was still celebrated as Lent and Christmas Eve was the culmination of long waiting, the Christmas carp was supposed to be a special feast. A time-honored custom also says that a scale of the eaten fish brings money blessing in the new year, if it is carried with itself.
The carp also has a great tradition in Lower Austria. Here, of course, fish from the region offers itself: Waldviertel carp. As in Vienna, the classic Lenten dish is served in a wide variety of forms and with a wide variety of side dishes, so that everyone can make the right choice for themselves. Only one thing can not be discussed: G’schmackig it must be! As dessert in Lower Austria are enjoyed with pleasure fine Topfennockerl with Roster, pretty black-and-white pastry or fluffy Mohnkipferl.
Baked carp, fried sausages, "Storibrot" bread and "Schnittlsuppe" soup probably make the hearts of many Upper Austrians beat faster. As is well known, baked fish or sausages end up on the festive table in many regions of the country, but the Viennese or Tyroleans probably don’t know what to do with the phrase "Storibrot Anschneiden" ("cutting the bread"). This is a rural custom, which is celebrated on the 26th of December. December, St. Stephen’s Day, and is also widespread in parts of Lower Austria.
The tradition, which is carried out according to strict rules, is used by many young boys to gain the attention of a girl and to find out whether their adored one has similar feelings for them. The Storibrot, a wheat and rye flour bread with caraway and aniseed, plays a central role. A chosen lad, who pleases the girl best, is allowed to cut the homemade bread: but only a piece so small that it fits into a matchbox. If the girl likes her admirer as well, she actually puts the piece of bread in a matchbox, wraps it in wrapping paper and hangs the little package around her visitor’s neck. If she is not interested, she fills the box with a stone or a potato peel. A pastry with rich customs and a hearty piece of Upper Austrian culture!
It’s a similar story with the sumptuous Schnittlsuppe: the bread soup with boiled pork used to be eaten after Mette, but today it is usually found on Christmas Day on the dining tables.
In Burgenland it goes flexibly! With so many good Christmas classics to choose from, it seems you can’t make a choice. In addition to the popular Christmas carp, you will also find goose soup or roast goose with dumplings, red cabbage and chestnuts in Burgenland households on Christmas Eve. The origin of this custom goes back to the Martinigans, which are consumed as well known on the memorial day of the holy Martin still before beginning of the Advent. Of course, there are other legends that could explain the choice of the goose as a Christmas dinner. Therefore, also the geese of Juno, which 387 v. Chr. Rome should have saved, the tradition have initiated. Esterhazy roast beef, smoked sausages and duck are also popular dishes in Burgenland.
In the green heart of the country one eats traditionally – similarly as in the neighboring Lands of the Federal Republic also – stuffed goose, carp or Wurstel. The latter is of course also in Carinthia an extremely traditional custom. Styrians prefer to serve carp with potato salad and regional pumpkin seed oil. Otherwise, some Styrian families have a feast on the 24th. December also gladly cold Patten on. These usually consist of cold cuts, numerous variations of bread and rolls, as well as the classic, ever-popular Jagerwecken (hunter’s rolls). If you don’t know them: The Jagerwecken are not only a treat from the outside, but also from the inside – and what a treat they are! The homemade white bread is filled with ham, cheese, pickles, peas, carrots, mustard, mayonnaise and cream cheese. The spicy end product is the perfect addition to any Christmas feast and rounds off cold plates nicely.