Events & Festivals in Styria (Steiermark)
Styria (Steiermark) is large, diverse in landscapes and populous - ideal conditions for a rich culture of events, festivals and celebrations. The capital Graz is a studenty place and offers not only an opera house and other high-quality cultural venues, but also the "Styriarte", a classical music festival.
Of a different kind are the rather traditional celebrations in the Salzkammergut: The Styrian share is the Ausseerland, a region with strong local pride. This also applies to the festivals and events there, most importantly the Narzissenfest - folk culture blended with tourism-friendly folklore.
The year starts in the Styrian share of the Salzkammergut with all sorts of peculiar pagan traditions - most importantly, the "Glöckler" in Bad Aussee and Bad Mitterndorf. Guys in colourful costumes and bells perform dances and rituals - see my article on the customs and traditions of Austria for further details. Takes place on the 5th of January.
Fasching or Carnival season - again, the remoteness of the Salzkammergut helped to preserved some pagan traditions. This includes the Trommelweiber and Flinserln, again guys in colourful costumes or without performing fertility rites and dances.
First week of May: Agricultural fair in Graz. One of the biggest of its kind in Austria, big deal if you happen to be an Austrian farmer - not such a big deal if you aren′t. Much more interesting for international visitors is the…
Ausseer Narzissenfest: The Daffodil Festival with processions and celebrations and lots and lots of people in traditional costume. Not to be missed. Held in Bad Aussee and involves Altaussee and Lake Grundlsee; late May or early June. For details, read my article on Altaussee.
June / July
The "Styriarte" is Styria′s most important music festival; held in Graz in late June and early July. It was initiated by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and has a focus on Classical Music.
There are plenty of concert series, cultural events and tourist entertainment things organised all over Styria during the summer. More ambitious festivals are usually found in the vicinity of Graz.
One thing worth noting is a rare piece of folk culture: The Samson processions, held only in the Lungau (Salzburg) and parts of the Styrian Murtal. It involves a giant statue of a man who is carried around in the village, usually accompanied by vast crowds of locals in traditional costume. For details, see my article on the "Traditions and Customs of Austria". Held in Krakaudorf on the first Sunday of August and in Murau on the 15th of August.
The "Steirischer Herbst" or "Styrian Autumn" is one of the reasons why Graz is seen as a hotbed of culture in Austria: Contemporary music and art is celebrated in the capital of Styria from mid-September to late October in one of Austria′s most interesting and stimulating festivals.
6th of December is St. Nicolas′ day. This is celebrated everywhere in Austria, but in Bad Mitterndorf, there are special processions with masks and fancy dress.
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Festivals & Events elsewhere in Austria
Ministery for Education, Culture and Science (includes folk culture)
Austrian Tourism Council for current events