How do you start the new year? In Vienna (and almost everywhere in Austria) we celebrate the new year with a few typical rituals that I personally like very much and would not want to miss.
The start is made by the most famous bell of the country, the Pummerin. This approx. 20 tons heavy, third largest free-swinging church bell of the world hangs in the north tower of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and rings only on special occasions, among others at Easter, Christmas and of course at the turn of the year. I have internalized the low stroke tone C since my childhood, especially since I learned in my elementary school days in Upper Austria that the new Pummerin was newly cast after World War II in Upper Austria from the parts of the old bell that were shattered in the cathedral fire. I have been proud of that bell ever since and always look forward to hearing it.
It has been my experience that no matter where people celebrate, they try to hear the pummerin on the radio, TV or smartphone at midnight. And then follows one of the most famous melodies of the country, the Danube Waltz. Whether you can actually waltz or just manage a few steps in ¾ time, it’s dancing into the new year. Only after the last bars of the waltz “An der schönen blauen Donau” have faded away, the party music continues.
Waltzes are danced everywhere, on the squares in Vienna, on the mountains in the snow or simply at home in the living room.
There’s still one item missing from the program. What happens on 1 January? No matter how long the New Year’s Eve lasted, at 11h the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will be watched. Tickets for a seat at the Vienna Musikverein are hard to come by, so all of Austria sits in front of the television set and watches the traditional concert from home. In Vienna, it will also be broadcast on screens around the city. Before Corona traditionally in the context of the New Year’s Eve path at the city hall place and this year in the Prater on the giant wheel place.
With these New Year’s Eve traditions, we at artemezzo wish you an enjoyable New Year and all the very best for the New Year!