Advent: religious time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ (Lat. adventus = arrival); beginning of the church year with the 4 Sundays prior to Christmas. Strictly religious customs include the Rorate-Aemter (high masses named after the song beginning "Rorate coeli ..." = Open Heaven to the just ...), morning masses held on work days as votive masses for the Virgin Mary, until December 16 (Engelamt, high mass on first Sunday of Advent). Frauentragen (carrying the Virgin Mary) was especially widespread in Salzburg and the Tyrol and involved worshipping and carrying an image of Mary from house to house. In Upper Styria the object of worship was a picture of St. Joseph (Joseftragen). In the Herbergsuchen (searching for shelter) custom, young people dressed as Mary and Joseph walk through the village and ask for donations to the poor. In Steyr the Steyrer Kripperl (Manger of Steyr), a mechanical Baroque manger display, helps to uphold the memory of the Adventspiele (Advent plays) ( Lay Theatre, popular plays). Advent singing is esp. known from the Salzburg Advent celebrations as established by T. Reiser und K. H. Waggerl and made into an increasingly musical and artistic event ("Gang durch den Advent" in the Grosses Festspielhaus). The Advent singers ("Ankloeckler") in Oberndorf (province of Salzburg), re-established by a local teacher in 1925, are connected to the older tradition of Kloeckeln, a regional custom in Salzburg and Carinthia in which local boys go from house to house on the Thursdays before Christmas. A widespread tradition is that of the Advent wreath, a custom that was invented by a Protestant theologist and director of an educational institution in Hamburg in 1839 and spread to the Catholic south mainly through the German Youth Movement after World War I. The first printed Advent calendar appeared in 1903 in Munich and was made popular above all by the children's periodical "Wunderwelt" after World War II. The institutions of the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) and Advent market reflect the more commercial aspect of Advent as seen in the decoration of stores and shopping streets as well as the introduction of the 4 "shopping Saturdays" (longer store business hours) before Christmas; in 1960/1961 they replaced the 3rd and 4th Advent Sundays ("Silver and Golden Sunday"), which had been the main shopping days (stores open all day). Advent and Christmas bazaars held in many schools and parishes mostly serve charitable purposes.
Religious and secular customs and dates (without an intrinsic relation to ADVENT) in this period are Barbara, (name day of St. Barbara) Lucia, Saint Nicholas Day Traditions, Lostage, Perchten and Rauhnaechte.
Further reading#R. Wolfram, Das Ankloeckeln im Salzburgischen, in: Mitteilg. der Gesellschaft fuer Salzburg. Landeskunde 95, 1955; idem, Herbergsuchen (Frauentragen), in: Oesterr. Volkskundeatlas, 4th instalment, 1971; H. Bausinger, Adventskranz, 1977.