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An Austrian child's description of Advent.

(Received from Vienna, translated by Felix G. Game for his English-speaking friends).

Advent is the nicest time of the winter.
Most people get the Grippe (flu) during the winter, that comes with fever.
We have a Krippe (manger) this one is spelled with a "K" and it lights up.

Three weeks before Christmas, Dad sets up the nativity scene in the living room and my little sister and I are allowed to help him. Many of the nativity scenes are pretty boring but ours is not because we have some really cool figurines assembled. Once I put Joseph and the Christ Child on the stove so they would be nice and warm, and it got too hot for them. The Christ Child turned all black and Joseph just blew up. One of his legs flew as far as the sidewalk and it was not nice to look at. My mother slapped me and exclaimed "Not even the Saints are safe from your stupidity!" It does not look good when Mary has to stand around alone without a husband and without a child.

But, thank God, I have many other figurines I can use, and Donald Duck is now Joseph. I was going to use Asterix for the Christ Child because he is the only one small enough to fit into the feeding trough. But then my mother said "Asterix is not a Christ Child, and a blackened Christ Child would still be better - after all, even if it is burned black it is still a Christ Child.

Behind the Christ Child are two oxen, one donkey, a hippopotamus, and a brontosaurus. I added the hippo and the saurus so that the oxen and the donkey would not be lonely. To the left of the manger the three Holy Kings are just arriving. Dad had dropped one of the three kings as he was cleaning them for the previous Advent and it was totally demolished. Now we only have two Holy Kings and one Batman as replacement. Normally the Holy Kings have a pile of stuff for the Christ Child with them, things such as gold, incense and purée. One of ours has, instead of gold, a shiny peace of foil from a chewing gum wrapper. It shines really nicely. The other king holds a Marlboro in his hand because we don't have any incense. But the Marlboro also smokes beautifully when lit. The Holy Batman has a pistol - that is not a gift for the Christ Child but it does allow him to protect it from the brontosaurus. Behind the three Saints are a few red Indians and a pale angel. The angel is missing a foot, so we sat it on a motorcycle to help it get around. It can now drive around when it is not flying around. To the right of the manger is where we placed Little Red Riding Hood. She is carrying a pizza and three bottle of beer for Grandma. We are missing a wolf which is why you will see a pig lurking behind the tree, he is the designated wolf. That is all we have, but that is enough for our manger.

In the evening we turn on the lights and that is when our manger is really nice. We sit around and sign songs of Advent. Some I like, others I find boring. My Grandpa taught me a song of Advent which goes like this:

"Advent is coming,
the moonshine is boiling,
first you drink one, then two, three, or four,
then you bang your head against the door.

Although this song is really nice, my Mom says that I am not allowed to remember it (yet my Dad sings it too).

In no time the Advent is all over and so is Christmas, and so goes the whole year.

But one thing is certain: There will be another Advent next year.


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