In Austria, they love and honor their national traditions. Nowadays, the population of rural areas, in contrast to the population of big cities, follows many traditions of their ancestors with great enthusiasm. Austrian wedding traditions are very similar to those of the southern regions of Germany.
The essence of many wedding rites is to strengthen the family union (often, during the wedding celebration, newlyweds have to overcome together various “obstacles”: for example, sawing a log), to protect the spouses from evil spirits (as in Germany, in Austria, it is customary to wake the bride on the day of the wedding with all sorts of noise to scare away evil spirits), to attract fertility and prosperity in a young family.
Preparing for the wedding
May is considered the most auspicious month for marriage in Austria. This is one of the main differences from the Eastern European tradition, where the month of May is considered the least favorable month for marriage. As the Slavs say: Marriage in May is a lifetime of May”.
Let us tell briefly about one romantic tradition, which refers to unmarried ladies. In May, decorated trees appear under the windows of unmarried girls – a declaration of love and a gesture that speaks of the seriousness of the intentions of their cavaliers.
Traditionally, in the old days, the bride’s father took over the wedding expenses. Nowadays, an Austrian wedding is prepared and paid for by the joint efforts of the groom and the bride.
The Austrians, like the Germans, are quite practical people. This trait is reflected not only in everyday life, but also in festive traditions. For example, in Austria, it is customary to make a list of gifts for weddings.
The bride and groom make a list of gifts that would be useful for them in their future life together. They can leave this list in one of the large shops, where each of the invited guests can choose from the list and buy the gift that would be more convenient for him to give.
The official registration of the marriage and the church wedding
One of the most widespread religions in Austria is Catholic Christianity. For this reason, Austrian Catholics celebrate the wedding in church more solemnly and prepare for it more thoroughly than the civil (state) marriage registration in the registry office.
Due to the fact that the church union has no legal effect, the wedding in the church is held after the state registration of the marriage at the Standesamt. It is customary to prepare for this event in advance.
The priest of the church, where the wedding will take place, meets with the bride and groom several times to discuss not only the wedding itself and the preparation for it, but also to talk about future family life and thus prepare young people for marriage. A doctor or other couple may also be invited to the meeting.
On the way to church it is customary to make noise: to blow up the firecrackers, and if the procession is accompanied by cars, then signal. Traditionally, it was believed that the noise scares away evil spirits and thus protects the future spouses.
One of the famous European wedding traditions is the presence of young children at weddings, who carry baskets of flowers in their hands. In church, the bride and groom are followed by small children (boy and girl) with baskets full of flowers.
After the wedding, it is customary to sprinkle the newlyweds with these flowers. This custom serves to attract the gods of fertility to the young family, who take care of the birth of future children.
After leaving the church, it is customary for newlyweds to drink a glass of wine. After that, they must throw their glasses against the ground. If the glasses are broken, their family life will be happy.
According to an old Austrian custom, on the wedding day the bride must wear one of the details of her wardrobe (usually underwear) inside out. This should confuse and frighten away evil spirits.
In the old days, guests at the celebration were presented with a gift in the form of sweet almonds wrapped in a piece of the veil of the bride’s dress. In the modern version of this tradition each guest at the wedding is presented with five almond nuts. Each of the five nuts has its own meaning: love, happiness, loyalty, success and fertility.
As in the Slavic tradition, in Austria it is customary for the groom to carry the bride across the threshold of their common home. This custom serves to protect the young family from evil spirits. After all, it is believed that evil spirits live under the doorstep of the house.