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Lots of traditions in Austria

Carnival donuts, “Osterbock” and Christmas cookies

In Austria, we have lots of traditions throughout the year and for every festivity, there’s a special kind of food. We love to get together and have delicious meals.

From the first day of carnival (the 11th of November) onwards, you can buy our delicious carnival donuts called “Faschingskrapfen” at the bakeries and in supermarkets. Round pieces of dough, pretty similar to donuts without a hole, that are fried in oil, filled with apricot jam and covered with powdered sugar. We serve them at the carnival parties or parades, where they give them out to the best costumes.

The next big traditional festival we have is Easter. It’s especially the week before Easter Sunday when lots of people have their holidays, spend time with the family and come all together. To end the 40-day long period of fasting it is very common in Vorarlberg to meet on Saturday evening, drink a special kind of beer and eat white sausages with pretzels – we call it having an “Osterbock”. On Sunday it’s tradition to search for Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies in baskets. The Easter bunny (or in real life: parents) hides them for the children and after everyone finds their chocolate, we usually have a family brunch.

What would Advent and Christmas be without Christmas cookies? Unimaginable for me as an Austrian! It’s a very important tradition to bake different kinds of cookies during the four weeks, called “Advent”, before the 24th. I have really nice memories of my mum baking with us in the warm kitchen while it’s snowing outside.
On Christmas Eve there are two traditional things we do: eat meat fondue or “Raclette”, melted cheese with potatoes and vegetables, and sing at the Christmas tree before unwrapping the presents. In the following days all family members come together, and we eat, drink and have lots of fun.

Short bio of the volunteer:

I’m Jana Berchtold, a 19-year-old volunteer from Austria who enjoys being in nature and likes to travel – even if it’s sometimes just between the pages of a book.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.