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Austrians have a long history of migration to North America. In the past thirty years, migrations have declined.
Austrian identity is found in maintaining German as the primary language spoken at home. Austrians like to think of themselves as more cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and tolerant. As a group, Austrians have not drawn attention to themselves. Moreover, they are, somewhat to their dismay, often lumped together with Germans and have thus suffered from the same stereo-types as the Germans.
Perhaps best known and most retained by Austrian are traditions of the Christmas season, the beginning of which is marked by St. Nicholas Day on December 6. Good children are rewarded with apples and nuts in their stockings, while bad ones receive only lumps of coal. Caroling and the Christmas tree are but two of the Austrian and German contributions to the celebrations of yuletide. One of the best-known Christmas carols, "Silent Night," was written by an Austrian.
As many customs and beliefs from Austria have been incorporated by the Catholic Church, many Austrians have retained the feast days of their native country, though without the pageantry or connection to their original purpose. The Austrian custom of placing a pine tree atop newly constructed houses has become a traditional ceremony for ironworkers as well, many of whom were of Central European origin. The fir tree, as mentioned, has become a staple of Christmas. Yet overall, Austrian customs have become barely recognizable in North America.
Most Austrians would claim Roman Catholicism as their primary religion but very few practice their religious faith. They often have become more non-religious and adhere to a more secular worldview caring very little for formal religions.
Pray that the Lord will raise up evangelical churches and Christians to work among the Austrians.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of Austrians toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel and experience a personal relationship with a living God.
Pray that the Lord will send evangelical Christians to share the message and love of Christ through both deed and word among the Austrians.
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