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Austrian Christmas traditions presented in Bulgaria's Burgas

Photo: БТА

Old-style Christmas toys with a rich and interesting history can be seen for the first time in Bulgaria. They are part of the exhibition "How Christmas is celebrated in Austria" on display at the Ethnographic Museum of Burgas. The initiator of the event is Prof. Dr. Radostina Ivanova-Mishineva, Honorary Consul of Austria in Burgas, and its realization is within the framework of the cooperation between the Cultural Union "BLAUES FENSTER"- Wagrain and the Regional History Museum in Burgas.

38 exhibits from the collection of the Silent Night Museum and the Waggerl House Museum in the Austrian town of Wagrain are on display. The opening was personally attended by the heads of the Cultural Union, which manages the two museums - Maria Wallhofer and Karl Heinz Kreutzahler.‎

"The Christmas toys are from the late 19th and early 20th century. All of them are intended to decorate the home and the Christmas tree and carry a great deal of symbolism," Maria Wallhofer told Stefka Bakardjieva from BNR-Burgas.

In the past, Christmas trees were decorated with apples as a reminder of the paradisiacal tree - this is actually what today's Christmas balls symbolize. Angels are a symbol of good tidings, pine cones - of fertility, bells represent harmony and connect heaven and earth with their divine ringing. The nuts are placed to remind of God's plan for the world and the people in it, and the straw star is a symbol of the manger in which the baby Jesus lay, explains Maria Wallhofer. ‎

The variety and authenticity of the exhibition are complemented by books with Christmas stories that every Austrian family reads on the eve of Christmas and handmade cards that were made as a gift to relatives and friends.

Christmas preparations in Austria start on December 6, when, like Bulgaria, St. Nicholas' Day is celebrated. In some traditional Austrian homes, the Christmas tree is decorated on this day and ready and wrapped Christmas presents are placed under it.

The exhibition "How Christmas is celebrated in Austria" will remain in the Ethnographic Museum in Burgas until March 2024. In the coming weeks, it will be accompanied by an Austrian Christmas market, where you can try a glass of aromatic Glühwein – Christmas homemade mulled wine with cinnamon and cloves, and traditional Austrian bread with dried fruits.

Photos: BTA
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