Yesterday was the first day of public school for children in Austria! And you'd have to be living under a rock not to notice. The heartbeat of the city was pumping strong and the buzz on the street was more alive and energetic than usual. I loved it. I particularly loved seeing so many young families walking to school together with the little ones so proudly leading the way. The first day of school is a very special day in Austria and Germany. It would be a big deal to you too if you partook in the region's 200 year old tradition of die Schültute.
The Schultüte (school cone) is a large paper or plastic cone which is filled with all kinds of sweet things and gifted to children on their first day of school. These prettily decorated cones are filled with candy, toys, school supplies, and various other goodies. (For my American readers, think Christmas stockings or Easter baskets.) While often times handmade, prepackaged cones may now be purchased from local stores.
The old German tradition began in the early 1800s but apparently not much has changed since then Although, in some parts of Germany, children used to have to pick their cone from a tree, but now children are simply handed the cone from their parents, grandparents, or godparents in the morning before heading off to school.
Can you imagine how sweet the anticipation must be the night before school starts in homes all over Germany and Austria? I imagine it's something like the night before Christmas. Children must be so excited to wake up and get going on the first day of school.
Here's a YouTube video (in German) about how to make a Schultüte: