Mysticism and romanticism at the end of the year
The penultimate month of the year often treats guests and hosts in Salzburg to some wonderful weather. Magnificent conditions, driven by the ‘Föhn’ winds, provide pleasant temperatures and bizarre cloud formations in milky blue skies. Although the average temperatures are down into single figures and there’s virgin snow up in the mountains, November is a feel-good month. There’s very little rainfall and it’s rarely foggy. It’s a genuinely peaceful time of year. In the time after the summer, and before the beginning of Advent, November is one of the few months during which the people of Salzburg have the city to themselves. The trees have cast off their leaves and Salzburg can be seen from a new perspective. The coffee house becomes newly significant at this time of year and life becomes more internal and interior. Harvest festival is over and people make themselves cosy at home.
In Salzburg, every year November begins on a public holiday. Catholic ecclesiastical tradition prescribes the celebration of All Hallows’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It’s the best possible time to visit the graveyards in and around Salzburg, as many of them are particularly well decorated and looked after at this time. Friedhof St. Peter and Sebastiansfriedhof are the two graveyards housing the biggest names from Salzburg’s colourful and varied past.
November is also the month of many major trade fairs and hosts the first balls of a season that ends on the 25th November with the words: “Kathrein, stop the dance.”
The Advent period produces the year’s final changes in Salzburg. Mozart’s town begins to dress up for the Christmas season to welcome the year’s last rush of guests and visitors. Salzburg is famous for its Advent singers and its enchanting Christkindlmarkt Christmas markets, some of them being among the oldest of their kind in the world. Salzburg can now focus completely on its romantic side. The narrow passageways and large municipal squares provide a perfect backdrop against which guests can enjoy their roast chestnuts and Bosna sausages. Once the first snowflakes have fallen the pre-Christmas scene is ready for guests.
Despite the crowds, the hustle and the bustle, there are still plenty of quite corners and relaxing spots around the town. The people of Salzburg seldom lose their cool. They are used to sharing their city with others. They adhere to their traditions, like standing at the tables in the Getreidegasse to drink a cup of ‘Original Sporer orange punch’, the recipe for which was created in 1927. The best places to finish the Christmas shopping are the many long-standing local boutiques, manufactories and family-owned businesses: Chocolate Christmas tree baubles from Josef Holzermayr (since 1865) on the Alter Markt, deer leather gloves from Jahn-Markl (since 1408) and the finest creations of jeweller Anton Koppenwallner (established 1884).