Customs and Traditions of Austrian Society

Learning about a country’s culture and traditions is one of the most important things you should know. Especially, if you are an international student who is willing to pursue studies in one of its universities. In this article, we will provide you with a useful summary of the customs and traditions of Austrian society.

Check our article about the top universities in Austria.

To blend in quickly, you have to know about the culture of Austria.

Traditions of Austrian Society

  • Most of the Austrians are Christians. There is also a Muslim minority. Most of the population is of a Germanic ethnic group, while the others are from Hungary, Croatia, and Turkey.
  • Austrians are simple and decent people. They care a lot about formalities. For example, it is improper to leave without saying goodbye.
  • The local population is very proud of their customs and traditions and their ancestors’ achievements.
  • In vacations, the local populations frequently wear traditional clothes called “Tracht”. It consists of a shirt and pants for men, while women wear colorful red and green dresses.
  • The shared areas between neighbors should be respected. Also, you should keep the pavements and corridors inside the apartments clean.
  • The Austrian people are kind of conservative and cautious.
  • Austrians love to maintain their fitness by doing activities, such as climbing mountains, cycling, walking, and others.

Austrian customs are based on family value and traditions

  • Family is the foundation of the social system in Austria. At the end of the week, all the family members gather to spend time together and do open-air activities. Moreover, Sundays are for visiting relatives and family.
  • Austria gives great importance to the family. It cares about the mother during childbirth; it gives her a two-year to take maternity leave.
  • Many Austrian traditions are related to religious holidays. Families gather and exchange gifts.
  • Austrians celebrate a number of religious, national, and global holidays, starting from the New Year, Easter, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Labor Day, and others.
  • In Christmas and New Year, local people hang decorated flower wreaths. Additionally, in the cities, they hold many exhibitions to purchase different Austrian dishes, watch shows, and listen to music.
  • Austrians value straightforward and direct communication. You should then not shy away from being clear and honest when talking to people.

Language in Austria

The German language is the country’s official language. Around 98% of the Austrian speak German as a native language. The English language is the second official language in schools and universities.

Depending on the region you are studying in Austria, there are many dialects and variations of the ‘standard’ German spoken in various Austrian regions. In the southern province of Carinthia, Slovene is the official language. 

Moreover, other minority languages in Austria are Croatian and Hungarian, that are taught in some schools alongside German.

Check our article about Studying in Austria in English and another one on Learning German in Austria

Austrian culture and etiquette

  • Home is for comfort and relaxation. Only close friends and relatives are invited to the house.
  • Austrians salute each other by shaking hands and keep eye contact while saluting.
  • Older men can kiss women’s hands out of respect. But, foreigners should not do this, only Austrians.
  • In eating time, you should always turn off T.V. Before eating, most Austrians announce “Mahlzeit” or “Guten Appetit.”
  • Family and close friends exchange gifts on birthdays and the new year.
  • Austrians respect time. If a family invited you over dinner, you should arrive on time as a sign of respect. You should avoid as much as possible arriving late and cancelling an arrangement last minute. If you had no other choice, give a warning beforehand and an apology for your delay to the people receiving you.
  • The first impression is important, so you have to wear and act decently when invited over dinner in an Austrian house.
  • When invited to dinner in an Austrian family, make sure to finish everything on your plate. Once you have finished eating, you should indicate it by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plates. The handles should be facing to the right.
  • Austrians usually have coffee and deserts for breakfast. Lunch is the main meal of the day.

Austrian culture vs German culture: learn the difference

Some Austrian people have some sense of resentment towards Germans. Although German is the main language in Austria, assuming Austrian and Germans are the same is a big mistake to avoid. There are also many differences between the two cultures, values and customs. Make sure to learn about them and try to not make comparisons between the two countries in your discussions with people.

The Austrian society is known to be a conservative one that maintains a number of customs and traditions that were passed down from the ancestors. This made Austria a distinct country with its habits, customs, and traditions.

This was our trip through the customs and traditions of Austrian society. See you in our next article.

About Sara

A professional Eng><Ara translator and writer.

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