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Austrian New Years Customs: New Year’s Eve also begins the Carnival season, known as Fasching, (pron. FAW-shing) that lasts until Lent. Balls and parties are thrown all over Austria. On New Year’s morning mass is attended and children sing carols door to door. Divination by pouring molten lead into a bucket of water is practiced. Soothsayers read the lead shapes, bleigiessen, (pron. BL-EYE GEE-sehn) and make predictions. It is a bad omen to see an old woman. (2)

Foods and Symbols:  Pork and carp are the favorite foods for celebrations. They are considered good luck and are eaten in restaurants or at home. Faschingkrapfen, Carnival jelly donuts, are eaten. Good luck symbols, called Glücksbringer, are exchanged. These are chocolate and marzipan candies shaped like pigs, gold coins, chimney sweeps, four-leaf clovers, and horseshoes. (2)

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