Austria Caleb Gentry, Caroline Adams, and Reedhi Bamnelkar

Material culture of Austria

The busy downtown streets of Vienna

Austrian cooking is very diverse and includes German, Hungarian, Czech, and north Italian influences. Breakfast includes coffee or milk with bread and butter or jam. Then they have the mid morning meals, which would include sausage and roll. Lunch is usually the main meal of the day and includes soup, main course of meat, fresh vegetables, noodles or dumplings follow the main course. Then they have the mid-afternoon coffee break. The evening meal is usually light and includes cold meats or fish, cheese, and bread with wine or beer.

In Austria, the tradition clothes for women is a dirndl, which consists of a close-fitting bodice and apron in a different colour. Sometimes it’s sleeveless and worn with a blouse, sometimes it features sleeves and a high neck. Hats are often costly and elaborate.

In Austria, men’s traditional clothing is called Lederhosen, which consists of knee-length trousers or short-pants made from leather and are worn with rustic shoes and wool socks.

Steireranzug, which is a tuxedo, but have a greyish garment with green embroidery on it. It has managed to become a semi-official attire in Austria.

Non-material culture

An old building resembling a monastery

Religions: Roman Catholic 74%, Protestant 5%, Muslim 4%, other 17%

In the early 1800s, there were mainly 3 social classes, aristocrats, citizens, and peasants. Between WW1 and WW2, these social classes developed their own separate political views, dividing the country. However, they dissolved after WW2 and majority of the population became middle class.

In Austrian culture, inherited wealth and long family lineage is a symbol of respect.

A family who has lived in the country for several generations is more accepted than recent immigrants. Symbols of wealth today may be a second home and more material possessions.

In spite of efforts to equalize the workforce, women are still expected to work at home, cook, and care for children. Except women who have college degrees, women are still underrepresented in business and government and generally hold jobs that require less education.

symbols and gestures

A picture of a sculpture that represents an angel leading the way to heaven for his followers

Greetings are formal, a quick but firm handshake is traditional for greetings, maintain eye contact during that greeting, Austrian men particularly older ones may kiss the hand of a female(A male from another country should never kiss the hand of an Austrian woman), women may also kiss the men but men can not kiss other men, titles are important and show respect(use a person’s title until permitted to use first name), when entering rooms shake hands with everyone individually including the children

popular languages

The alphabet of the Austrian culture

German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Austrian German

Ethnic makeup: German 88.5%, indigenous minorities 1.5% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), recent immigrant groups 10% (includes Turks, Bosnians, Serbians, Croatians) (2001)

German is the official language spoken by 98% of the population as mother tongue. There are distinct differences between the many regional dialects, and also a wide variation in the 'standard' Hochdeutsch spoken from region to region. Slovene is an official language in the southern province of Carinthia. Other minority languages include Croatian (0.5%) and Hungarian (0.1%). All three languages are taught alongside German in some bilingual schools. Another minority language is Slovak.

values, norms, and taboos

Represents the family values of old culture in Austria

Values: The family forms the basis of the Austrian social structure. The family is generally small and, due to lack of migration, generally closely knit within a certain town or village. Weekends are generally devoted to family activities such as outdoor activities. Eating dinner together in the evening is very much the norm. Sundays are usually bookmarked for visiting grandparents for dinner, and/or, enjoying a hike in the country together.

Norms: Greetings are formal. A quick, firm handshake is the traditional greeting. Maintain eye contact during the greeting. Some Austrian men, particularly those who are older, may kiss the hand of a female. A male from another country should not kiss an Austrian woman's hand. Women may also kiss men, but men never kiss other men. Titles are very important and denote respect. Use a person's title and their surname until invited to use their first name. When entering a room, shake hands with everyone individually, including children.

Taboos: World War II and Austria’s role in the war can still be a sensitive topic. Anything that leads to a discussion around Anti-Semitism should be avoided. The Austrian religion is predominantly Catholic, so different religious view aren’t usually discussed. Austrians are a rather private culture, so talk about separation and divorce is usually avoided. Because of their private nature, Austrians don’t usually discuss money matters outside of business. Austrian hospitality is warm with a degree of formality. It is an honor to be invited to an Austrian home. Dress well and bring a gift. Talking too much about your education, professional experience, business success, and related achievements may be considered a boosting.


Represents the leader of the Austria culture speaking to the press about sanctions or anything thereof

The requirements of culpability correspond to an arbitrary (a reflex movement would for example not be seen as arbitrary), factual (it must be a standard fact), unlawful and culpable (the act must be linked to the offender; he must have some responsibility for it) behavior which can be threatened by legal sanctions. An act can only fulfill the requirements of culpability if it satisfies all the characteristics of a type of crime as provided for by the law ("no punishment without a lawful justification"). The elements of a crime (offences: tort and crime) are regulated either by the Austrian Criminal Law (StGB) or in one of the instruments of secondary legislation. Through the Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana, which came into effect in 1768, Austria finally had a uniform, substantive criminal and criminal proceedings law. In 1804, a new law came into effect, which was amended in 1852 and for a greater part remained valid till 1974. In 1974, the StGB came into effect. Important amendments, especially concerning juvenile court law and the law governing sexual offences, were made in the eighties.

The charge principle: every criminal procedure will be triggered and defined by the claims of a prosecutor. The prosecutors can be the public prosecutor (State Prosecutor), the subsidiary prosecutor or the private prosecutor. The legality principle: it is the duty of the State Prosecutor (subject to exceptions) to prosecute the offences of which he becomes aware whilst in office. The speech principle (the reading of statements from the preliminary proceedings by the examining magistrate or the police is only possible in limited circumstances.) The public principle (the public should only be excluded from a hearing on important grounds) The procedure must be carried out in front of a legally appointed judge. Participation of the public in the criminal justice system (jury and juror). Establishment of the truth principle (the court must do everything in its power to clarify the state of affairs and should not limit itself to the examination of the claims from the state prosecutor and the defense). Independent Judgment Principle (the judge forms his opinion independently without outside interference)

customs, traditions, and holidays

Weiner Schnitzel

April: Easter, In some parts of Austria Easter fires are lit during the night before Easter Sunday. In a tradition dating back to pagan times people meet around the fire to sing and dance - and the more agile even jump over the fire. On Easter Sunday the 40 days of fasting for Lent officially come to an end. Easter eggs are a big deal in Austria and there are usually two kinds - the decorative ones and the chocolate ones that you eat. The decorative ones are real eggs which have been carefully blown beforehand so they are a hollow shell. After being painted and decorated they are hung in windows, on plants and on bunches of willow twigs.

August 15: Assumption of Mary in Austria: The feast day of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the Christian belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death It is celebrated on or around August 15 in many countries, particularly in parts of Europe and South America. It's also called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (in the eastern countries), or the Feast of the Assumption.

Food: The prominent Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made of veal. Pork in particular is used extensively, with many dishes using offal and parts such as the snout and trotters. Austrian butchers use a number of special cuts of meat, including Tafelspitz (beef), and Fledermaus (pork).

Beuschel (a ragout containing lungs and heart)

Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam filling, traditionally eaten with whipped cream

Wedding Stuff: The auction of the bridal shoe is very popular in Austria. It helps to fill the newlyweds’ purse. Like at a real auction all wedding guests bid on the shoe. The custom stipulates, however, that the final bid is made by the father, best man or groom. Only with a purchased shoe can he uphold the honor of his daughter or wife.


Created with images by mtockner - "mountain lake mirroring" • grubertransmedia - "vienna austria danube" • boristrost - "castle hochosterwitz carinthia" • smykcur - "sculpture vienna austria" • Blogteufel - "castle court marchfeld lower austria"

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