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Austria

Austria is a beautiful, historic country filled with cultural riches. And according to a recent study conducted by the International Institute for Market and Social Analysis (IMAS), most Austrians feel that these traditions are important to celebrate and preserve for future generations.

If you’re planning on travelling to Austria, especially during holidays such as Christmas, the New Year, and Easter, you may find some traditions that you’ve never encountered before.

Eierpecken (The Easter Egg Battle)

This tradition is typically celebrated amongst families at Easter breakfast or brunch. The traditional Austrian Easter breakfast is colored hard-boiled eggs served alongside a cake in the shape of a lamb. 

Before the eggs are eaten, players engage in a tournament. They hold their eggs upright, and the first player hits the tip of someone else’s egg with his own egg. The egg whose shell breaks is the loser, and the winner goes on to fight another battle. This goes on until one egg remains supreme.

Almabtried (Autumn Cow Train)

This is a public event held annually in the Alpine regions of Austria. Every summer, roughly 500 000 Austrian cows are led high into the Alps so that they can pasture there. In October, it’s time for the cows to return to the valley, and this is done with a cow train.

These days, this event is celebrated like an agricultural festival. Many cows are decorated for the descent, there’s song and dance, and most alpine towns will bring out their best artisan or agricultural goods for sale during the festival.

Schultüte (First Day of School Cone)

This tradition is designed to make a child’s transition into school less stressful and frightening. The cones have their roots in German history. When a six-year-old starts school, their parents or grandparents give them a decorated cone filled with candy, toys, and school supplies.

Originally, the empty cones would be brought to the school and hung in a tree marked with their name. The children are told a story that at school, a tree grows with cones; when they’re ripe, the child is old enough to attend.