I just read about hotmessmemoir’s Italian roots and how it influenced her upbringing. A funny and enjoyable read.
It made me think, how my Austrian roots influence my life. And do we (my brother, who also lives in Germany with his all-German family and I) uphold any particular Austrian traditions?
Well, it doesn’t and we don’t. Maybe this is, because Austria and Germany are quite similar in culture and history. Would any American feel alienated and promted to keep special traditions from back home alive, if they lived in Canada? I don’t think so.
Generalising, I’d say, foreigners think of Austria as this yodelling nation in their traditional costumes climbing mountains, racing downhill on skis to meet up in an alpine hut to make said yodelling music of an evening for entertainment, after they toiled on the fields of romantic farms all week. Needless to say, that life is very different in Austria for most of the population.
But there is some truth in cliché, after all. We were taken up mountains, when we were kids, my mom loved it. And of course we learned to ski as soon as we could walk a little. Also, there occasionally was traditional music made at home, although I lacked every skill for it and formed the audience, listening to my parents and siblings perform on their instruments, with my mom singing and yodelling. And my grandparents along with the entire clan, including us, did work a little romantic farm up on a mountain slope, albeit the work is only romantic on hindsight. Plus, on special occasions, we all would wear our Austrian costumes, called “Tracht”. I even got married in Tracht. Which was making for weird, yet nice photographs, next to the Kilts of my husband and his best man on the beach of a little Scottish village.
For lack of mountains here in the North of Germany, my skiing skills can’t be displayed and are most likely gone for good, whereas the yodelling skills I never had. So the only thing still left and audible, is a slight accent, that Berliners dedect and recognize as Austrian. As opposed to my brother, who makes a point of not sounding Austrian, as much as he can. And I still have a soft spot for Semmelknödel (a dumpling made of a dough of dried bread, milk, fried onions, eggs and parsley, then simmered) and Wiener Schnitzel.
So, if I were asked to do something typical Austrian, I would reach further back in history and host a festive evening with costumes of the area, when the emperors and empresses of Austria still reigned half of Europe. And a certain Mozart provided the soundtrack.