Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Vienna
One day, countless possibilities
New Year’s Eve is a great spectacle to which some are looking forward to the whole year. While New Year’s Day, the first day of the New Year, is originally a well-known holiday, the night before is the one people are excited about. This night involves marvelous fireworks and parades, countless parties to celebrate the New Year and the holding of beloved traditions. Austria’s capital of Vienna provides really special peculiarities this day: enjoying the city’s possibilities of entertainment on New Year’s Eve is a great adventure for everyone.
New Year’s Day is one of the oldest holidays, although the exact date has changed over thousands of years. The German’s designation Silvester comes from an ancient pope named Sylvester I. While this holiday actually arises from religious purposes, nowadays, the meaning is a wholly different one. Nonetheless, countless cultures have their own reference concerning typical traditions, culinary arts and drinks as well as personal ideas of how to spend the evening. In Austria, primarily the old customs to receive happiness and luck in the upcoming year guide this night. Below, you can learn a few Austrian ways to start the New Year while staying in Vienna!
Austrian customs on New Year’s Eve
One of Austria’s most common customs on New Year’s Eve is called Bleigießen. It means you melt a piece of lead, normally shaped as a lucky charm, and pour it into cold water. It becomes a new, totally different shape and by the shadow, you can predict the future concerning the following year. In fact, this tradition goes back to times of the ancient Romans. In the past, people thought lead was magical. Based on this oracle, they believed they could see their future concerning health, battles and the coming harvest. Nowadays, a figure made of lead is a great memory that may guide some people through the year. Besides, it is a lot of fun to analyse each other’s eye-catching figures on New Year’s Eve.
Numerous New Year’s Eve markets
You can get the equipment everywhere these days in Vienna, along with lucky charms in every shape and colour. Markets are set up at many key points of the city only for the sake of celebrating the beginning of the New Year. It is common among Austrians to buy lucky charms as a gift for family and friends. So, the markets offer a wide range of horseshoes, shamrocks, sheep, agarics and ladybugs but also coins made of chocolate or pigs made of marzipan. They are supposed to bring luck, health, success and wealth in the upcoming year.
Typical austrian drinks and food
Consuming biscuits in the shape of fish at midnight has an auspicious meaning, but only when you start with the tail fin! If you bite into the head first, it means bad luck for the following year! So be careful!
In general, the culinary options on New Year’s Eve are extremely important in Austria. Families prepare fondue, raclette, goulash, pork roast, carp or finger food all day to have a great feast with their loved ones.
Another important tradition is to drink a toast to the New Year right after midnight! The one and only beverage for Austrians in this case is Champagne. Everyone wishes Prosit Neujahr, which means Happy New Year! If you have never celebrated an Austrian New Year’s Eve, it is essential to know that you should not confound the terms Prosit Neujahr and Guter Rutsch! You use Prosit Neujahr after the start of the year, while you use Guten Rutsch as a wish to slip well into the next year. So, it means I wish you good luck while slipping into the next year!
Events and possibilities in Vienna
Vienna’s incredible Silvesterpfad
A real highlight at this day is the popular Silvesterpfad in Vienna’s inner city. Numerous attractions, eleven stages and a wide-range program of stunning musical performances and shows promise an unforgettable spectacle for every tourist from Vienna Residence. In addition, you have the possibility to take a ride on Vienna’s Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) in which you can see thousands of people, countless fireworks and the whole city in general. You will soon learn that fireworks are one of Vienna’s most important spectacles on New Year’s Eve, and this provides an incredible view. While you can see breathtaking fireworks nearly everywhere, the ones at Rathausplatz and Prater are quite special.
You can have a look at the detailed program here – the attractions occur on December 31 from 2pm to January 1st until 2am.
Special shipping-route at the Danube
Vienna offers another rarity this night: the Donaurundfahrt, where you take a tour along the Danube on one of three ships. This unique experience includes a delicious gala buffet, live music, lovely decorations on ships, raffles and more. The three ships have different themes, so you can choose which atmosphere you prefer most. The first (named MS Dürnstein) is a quite exclusive one; the second (named MS Vindobona) is rather casual, and the third (named MS Wien) has a festive character. So if you are interested in experiencing the city in a whole different way, this extraordinary offer is the right one for you! Save your tickets here.
A must have at midnight
Regardless of where you will spend the evening, if you party the whole night, if you take the chance to see cultural aspects of Vienna or if you have a cosy evening with homemade food at your Viennese apartment, right after midnight, you have to dance Vienna’s most important dance: the waltz. This is the one and only must-do while staying in Vienna on New Year’s Eve. During the first seconds of the New Year, nearly every radio station plays the Donauwalzer (Danube waltz). It was written in 1867 by Johann Strauss, who was a famous composer born in today’s seventh district of Vienna.
So, if you still don’t know how to dance the waltz, I would recommend taking some dancing lessons or ask an Austrian friend to teach you the basics. After that, you are going to feel like a real Viennese!
Neujahrskonzert on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day, enjoy yourselves while watching the world-famous Neujahrskonzert from the Wiener Philharmoniker. This concert is one of the most popular. Up to 90 TV channels show it on January 1. An even greater particularity than watching it at home is to see a huge transmission on Rathausplatz or on the square in front of the Wiener Staatsoper. The tickets for the real concert are extremely hard to save and sell out quickly, but you can find information concerning transmissions, the program and the background here.
Have a special New Year’s Eve in Vienna!