Christa Plank works as a headmistress at Volksschule Weizberg, in Austria. Some of her pupils describe several traditions which take place in their local community during the Advent, the period including the four Sundays before Christmas.
Adventkranz (Advent wreath)
Every year at our school we make advent wreaths for every class. This year a grandfather and mothers came to school to help us making advent wreaths out of pine. Afterwards they decorated it with four candles for every Sunday until Christmas one. On Friday before the first Sunday in Advent all families come together. We go to church. Our school choir sings old and new Christmas songs and our Advent wreaths are blessed by the priest.
After the celebration in church we drink tea and enjoy the special cookies our mothers bake at Christmas time.
Barbara Tag (St Barbara Day)
On December 4th people cut branches of the cherry tree and put them into water in the warm house. In former times girls believed the one that blossoms at Christmas announces her marriage next year. It is said that they may blossom if the nights or days are very cold.
In Austria, Krampustag is celebrated on the 5th of December. It is said that Krampus is a man with a terrible mask and a dress out of fur.
Sometimes people "threaten" their children saying that Krampus will take them with him. Krampus always comes with Saint Nikolaus. In our school mothers come into the class and bake sweet "Krampus".
Every year Saint Nicholas visits our girls and boys in the first class. They speak about Saint Nicholas life, sing and pray together. At last the children get a little present with nuts, chocolate, clementines and Lebkuchen.