Visiting Austria soon? As a tourist, please make sure that you are aware of specific etiquette in the country. Here are some rules, practices, and manners to know when visiting Austria. There are even dining rules included. Good luck and enjoy your stay in this beautiful country.
Gift Giving Etiquette
Austrians will exchange presents within their family and sometimes with their close friends. This usually happens on Christmas Eve and birthdays. In Austria, the children will get their gifts on December 6th. This day is the feast of St. Nicholas. If you are invited to anyone’s home while in Vienna, make sure to bring a small gift that you can eat. Chocolates are a great idea. If you feel like getting someone flowers in Austria, please make a note that you should buy an odd number of flowers, even numbers are said to be bad luck, except number 12. Also, do not give anyone red carnations or lilies. Anytime you bring a gift to someone in Austria, please make sure that this gift is wrapped. Gifts are opened when the person gets them.
When you are invited to an Austrian’s home there are a certain thing that you are required to do. If you do not comply, you’ll be asked to leave, or the homeowner will not ask you over again. Arriving on time is a huge sign of respect. Please dress nice, elegantly, and conservatively. Many Austrians will ask you to remove your shoes. This is not a custom anymore, but always be aware of this possibility.
At the dinner table, you must stay standing until someone asks you to sit down. You will probably be shown which seat is yours. The fork should be held in your left hand and the knife will be held in your right hand when you are eating. Your napkin should go on your lap as soon as you sit down. You cannot start eating until your hostess says, “mahlzeit.” If you cut up your food with a fork as much as possible, this is showing that the food is tender. This is a compliment to your chef. You must eat everything that is on your plate. Austrians do not waste food. When you finish your meal, you lay your knife and fork on your plate with the handles facing your right. The hostess will make the first toast. You are the honored guest and will give a toast and thank the hostess at the end of your meal.
In Austria, first impressions are extremely important! You will be looked at, then judged directly on what you are wearing and how you present yourself. That means in the way you speak and your actions. Austrians will call you by your last name only. Unless you are a relative or a close friend, Austrians will never call you by your first name. These are many things that tourists must learn before they come to Austria.