In Austria, if you celebrate a round birthday, or something else of particular note (eg. A wedding), don’t be surprised if people turn up at your house at 4am with fireworks. And no… I’m not kidding. Not quite sure where this crazy tradition comes from, but it’s a common, and accepted occurrence. A whole group of your nearest and dearest will get together, bring along some fireworks, some food and some music, and shoot rockets off in the dead of the night to wake you up on your big day.
My husband recently celebrated one such birthday… on a Sunday. And we certainly didn’t want to get woken up at 4am. So we told the potential offenders that we were in Italy for the weekend. And it worked.
But not entirely.
Because around 4am the next day, Monday morning, we were awoken to the scuffling of quiet voices and two very loud rockets.
Not knowing what the role of ‘Austrian wife’ in this situation should be, I decided to hide. I stayed in bed while hubby went to greet his workmates who brought with them food and a giant cake. Possibly I should have gone to greet them, perhaps helped make coffee or get out plates, but instead I just went back to bed. I certainly didn’t want to eat anything, or try and talk German at that time of the morning.
I didn’t manage to go back to sleep, but I finally emerged at 6am and gave them all a cheery wave as I headed out on my run. And when I returned, everyone was gone and the only sign of their visit was two huge holes in the grass.