It’s Austrian superstitions time! Welcome to Cultural Tidbits Monday folks. This week, I decided to switch it up from Traveling through Food and delve deeper into cultures by resuming the World’s Superstition Series. It is crazy to see how many of them overlap from country to country and today we’ll see if this is the case or not when it comes to Austrians!
Austrian cold remedy! (Photo: Wiki Commons)
* Speaking of colds, what’s the no-fail remedy? According to Austrian superstitions, that shall be sliced garlic, mixed and downed with yogurt, while still raw. Hmm!
* Girls, listen up: Don’t sit on the sidewalk or steps outside while it’s cold, unless you want to get a dangerous UTI! As strange as it sounds, apparently, the cold can somehow penetrate your woo-ha (!?)
* According to Falkor.org: “Mentioning how much success you have, may cause bad luck. Therefore, knock on wood will prevent that good fortune/luck will leave you.” This is not only part of Austrian superstitions, but also other Western Europeans’ (including Dutch, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Ukrainian) and America!
* It is unlucky to enter the house with your left foot forward
* It is unlucky to ride behind a bobtailed horse at a funeral
* Woe to the man or woman who sneezes while looking at the new moon
* It is unlucky to sneeze before breakfast or to tell dreams before taking a drink of water
* If a man owns a white horse, a white cow, and a white cat, and then caps the climax by carrying a white umbrella, the average Austrian will not associate with him
See that stuffing? The Topfen Treatment! (Photo: sierravalleygirl, Flickr)
My all-time favorite, although I think this is an Austria-only superstition, is definitely the Topfen Treatment. Topfen (also known as Quark, Weißkäse, or Kesella) is a lot like cottage cheese, and in Austria, it’s a common filling for desserts. When my friend, Elaine, got carpal tunnel syndrome in Vienna, her doctor told her that surgery was unnecessary because all she needed to do was let her wrist rest in a good amount of quark, as the cheese would “draw the inflammation out.” Right.
Aww Kate, too bad, I was about to splatter some cottage cheese on my wrists! Speaking of which, they are hurting, so I’m going to go and take a little break now…
For Travel Tuesday this week, I am resuming my travel mini series “Europe trip through the eyes of a 17 year old.” It consists of a compilation of posts & photos from my first travel journal, first published on Kiwibox back in 2005. Here are the pages I wrote during my very first trip outside the U.S. & Puerto Rico, as a newbie 17-year-old blogger with no real English training or travel experience. The photo essays may be cute and humorous…or just plain quirky haha 😛 Below, part three!
Want to start from this European series from beginning?
Note: Grammar, writing style have not been edited: That’s the whole point! 😉
Posted on 06/22/05, 3:55 AM on Kiwibox.com
June.12th.2OO5 (cont.) Since we are nearly done with Germany, here are some hilights of the country, IMO -I liked the countryside better than the city (except for Munich! That was *awesome* -I found very few nice Germans; most dislike us 🙁 -The things I loved most: Munich (everything), Rothenburg (cute and very nice ppl!), the Italian waiter @ the ristorante who was so nice/cute/sweet, both castles we went to, and all of the personnel @ Tutti Frutti! 😀 -Too much grass :p -The houses are cute -Our hotel in Ausburg SUCKED BIG TIME -Our hotel in Rothenburg was *cute* June.13th.2OO5Off from the hotel to our 12-hour drive to Italy (or so!?); we are stopping for 2 hours in Austria tho. Anymoo, I had like a kind of breakfast date with Mike :p he afterwards asked me for a hug and thats the last time we saw each other *sniffs* :p but theres no way that can be compared with Darryls, nuh-uh. Anyways, I think Ill take a nap now.
We are arriving to Innsbruck right now. Gah, I lost most of the views cause I fell *deeply* asleep *pouts*. Oh well, I could catch a few and let me tell ya, Austria is GORGEOUS! This is a valley surrounded by the Alps and many mountains, also pretty buildings and all; simply amazing, ich liebe es! 😉 (I think thats Im lovin’ it in German, lol)
Back to the bus and resuming our road trip to Italy. We spent 2 hours @ Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria 😀 omg, it was too great! And the souvenirs prices were very nice, but didnt have enough euros so couldnt buy anything *pouts*. We went to a lil city and beautiful park, then went around town and also visited the *Swavroski Crystals* place (that was AWESOME! I have to wait for my friends to send me their pics, aince I didnt have enough cam memory by then). But wow, back to the views just *too beautiful*! I mean geez!
Austria (or I better say, Innsbruck :p) hilights
-BREATH-TAKING, I mean just too freakin gorgeous -I would have liked MUCH BETTER to have spent all of those days we did in Germany here in Austria instead -The climate is just PERFECT! (hot, but the wind makes it warm and cool; no cold wind chill AT ALL) -I could freakin live here -Did I already mentioned that it was just *beautiful*!?
Right now we are passing through the highest bridge of Europe. I hope someone takes freakin PICTURES! And seriously, this is DAMN high. Weeee.
Me in front of some building I liked @ Innsbruck. Oh and, that’s my “He loves me…” and in the back “…I love his friend” tee 😀
See how gorgeous u can see the Alps in the background?! =D
me around Innsbruck – loved it!
Innsbruck streets again
Spectacular views just shortly after we crossed the border from Austria to Italy
So this is Italy (?)
Reflections after reading through my past: Funny how much we change through the years, right? I could not help but think, wow, how crappy my digital camera was back then, too!? XD I remember having a very noisy, perfect-square-shaped mini Polaroid, one of the first [affordable] digital cameras to hit Walgreens. It cost me like $89 and I bought ti right before my Euro trip. Haha, the memories!
In the Western & Christian worlds, we celebrate Christmas this weekend. In celebration, I decided to compile some unique Christmas traditions around the world! Since our globe has more than 200 countries, the list below includes only the ones I have personally visited and/or lived in. This way, we keep the number close to 30 😉 Hope you enjoy it!
Ajaca: Traditional food eaten during Christmas in Aruba, it is made of plantains and stuffed with pork, chicken or beef (Photo:Mourinhospenis.tumblr.com)
In this beautiful Caribbean island, it is commonplace for families to go to church together on Christmas Eve. Then, families gather again for Christmas dinner the next day and sing Aruban songs as they eat ajaca (also eaten in Puerto Rico, but known as “pastel”), salted ham and salmon.
Christmas market in Vienna, Austria (Photo: Manfred Werner)
While Christmas markets are very popular in several cities across Europe, they are particularly important in Austria. The most popular in this quaint country are found in Vienna (in front of the City Hall), Innsbruck (in square by the Golden Roof), and Salzburg (by Residenzplatz/the big Cathedral).
Christmas Pantomime by St Winifred School, Barbados (Photo:Bajanchristmas.wordpress.com)
In the Barbados, a curious tradition is that children put on a pantomime show (instead of a traditional Christmas play) for school. This is also common Christmas tradition in Jamaica.
Sinterklaas (Dutch Santa Claus) and his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). Photo: Looi at nl.wikipedia
In the Dutch Caribbean (including the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) they celebrate what it’s called Saint Nicholas Day. What’s really special in this region, however, is Sinterklaas: The Dutch Santa Claus! He makes an appearance on December 5th and gives out the gifts then! Oh, it is also feast day 😉
"Los Tres Reyes Magos," meaning "The Three Magic Kings" (Photo: Studioporto.com)
While many Latin American countries celebrate both December 25th (Santa Claus/Christmas) and January 6th (Three Kings Day), only the latter is celebrated in Dominican Republic. There might be some exceptions to the rule, such as wealthy families exchanging gifts on both days. This, however, is rare. What, then, happens on January 6th? Children leave grass for the “camels” of the Three Kings to eat under their beds (not tree!) and then see their gifts there the next morning.
Egyptian fattah (Photo: Mylifeinapyramid.com)
Christmas in EGYPT? That’s right! While more than 90% of the population in Egypt are Muslims, there is still a Christian minority, called the Coptic Church. Also, as an Orthodox Church, so they actually celebrate Christmas on January 7th, a day after Three Kings Day in Latin America (Epiphany). Then, on Christmas Eve, everyone goes to church midnight service wearing a brand-new outfit, then goes home afterward to eat delicious fata (pictured above).
Keswick Boxing Day Hunt, Market Square, Cumbria, Lakes District, England in 1962 (Photo: Phillip Capper, Wiki)
Some peculiar Christmas traditions in England are the Queen of England’s speech (radio and televised) on Christmas Day and the celebration of Boxing Day on Dec. 26th, which nowadays involves giving small amounts of money as gifts to those who have helped you throughout the year (i.e. the mailman, the newspaper boy, etc.). When it comes to food, Christmas lunch includes a chestnut-stuffed turkey, Yorkshire pudding and roast beef or roast goose.
Suckling pig: Traditional German dish eaten on “Dickbauch” feast day (Photo:Whydyoueatthat.wordpress.com)
As in several European countries, the day that German kids actually receive gifts is December 7th. Thus, on the night of December 6th, children place a boot or shoe by the fireplace (similar to the mistletoe tradition!) and wait for St. Nicholas to fill it with gifts! Another funny fact? Christmas Eve is called “Dickbauch” (which means “fat stomach”) and if you do not eat well on that day, you will be haunted by DEMONS! Say wha!? Interesting Christmas superstition indeed!
Two of the Yule Lads on a billboard in Iceland (Photo:WikiCommons)
Icelandic Christmas is great, as it lasts 26 days and brings about 13 different “Santa Clauses” (also called “Yule Lads”) and they start bringing gifts 13 days before December 25th! The story behind them is that their parents are mean mother Grýla (who takes away the naughty kids in town!) and father Leppalúði, who is not that bad. Their children then are the infamous Yuletid, and each day of the Icelandic Christmas a different one comes to town, either bringing gifts or a prank, or both! 😉 on December 12th, children place a shoe by the window and expect one of the many “Santa Clauses” to leave gifts – but if you have been naughty, you get a potato instead! The major gift exchange and Christmas celebration, however, happens on Christmas Eve, when many Icelanders also go to midnight mass.
Israel & Palestine
While Jews celebrate Chanukkah around the same time, a minority of Christian Arabs do celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, on December 25th. Celebrations are particularly evident in Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity, where it is believed to be the location of the manger where Jesus was born more than 2,000 years ago. See the video above to get a taste of Christmas in the West Bank/Palestine!
For part 2, and many more traditions from other countries, CLICK HERE!!
What are your favorite Christmas traditions around the world? Why?