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  • Writer's pictureAlpineFoxes Team

Stories from the Opera Ball and the Feather Ball


People dancing in the Viennese State Opera House
The Opera Ball is the highlight of the Viennese ball season (1)

So now we have finally arrived in carnival! It won't last long this year, because on February 14th, Ash Wednesday, the celebrations will be over again. Although: After Christmas, New Year and then the various carnival celebrations, it's good to relax a bit. Detox and recharge your batteries for 6 weeks before the Easter Striezel comes to the table 😉!

In Germany, Fasching - or Carnival - is also known as the “Fifth Season” because it lasts three months and is so important to many people that it is equated with a normal season. We don't take it that seriously here, at least not at the AlpineFoxes base in Vienna. The official start of carnival, or quite correctly: the fool's awakening, also takes place here on November 11th. celebrated in style at 11:11 at Wiener Graben with waltz dancing and distribution of donuts (I reported about it!), but actually it doesn't really get going until after January 6th, i.e. Epiphany, when the Christmas season is over.

Carnival or Fasching is celebrated differently everywhere throughout Europe: Usually there are happy, loud and colorful parades, as well as carnival meetings, carnival princes and princesses, carnival speeches, carnival shouts (the best known is probably the Villach “Lei-Lei”) and the like. A world of their own opens up to anyone who, like me, researches the subject of carnival! Even Vienna has its own carnival guilds, for example in Hietzing (carnival call “Hahaha-Hallotria”), Döbling (“Dö Dö-Bling Bling”) and Währing (“Ring, Ring Währing”).

Couples dancing at a Viennese ball
Every profession celebrates their own ball: Here, Austrian military officers

But honestly: Carnival time in Vienna means, first and foremost: ball season! And that in turn means: spending the morning in the hairdressing salon and getting a really “big” hairstyle! Get the elegant “floor length” out of your wardrobe! Put on makeup for the queen of the night! Tying the knot for my partner in crime (thank God I don't have to, but I couldn't either)! Rush into the festively decorated Hofburg, the town hall or - especially - into the music club! Be excited and dance, dance, dance until your feet hurt so much in the early morning that you want to walk to the taxi barefoot! Before that, however, you should ravenously eat a few frankfurters at night (be careful with the mustard!), complete a midnight quadrille that is as chaotic as possible, end up at the ball disco sometime early in the morning and finish with a bit of melancholy (“what, the evening is over again? “) roll the “Brüderlein Fein”. And look forward to the next ball, even in the next carnival.

There are around 450 balls every year in Vienna and most of them take place during the carnival season. The best known are, among others, the noble ball of the Philharmonic Orchestra in the Musikverein, the “traditional” Jägerball (the Hunter's ball, including a counter-demonstration by the anti-hunters in front of the Hofburg), the Kaffeesiederball (Ball of the Coffee House owners), the Zuckerbäckerball (Ball of the Patissiers) and of course the “I want to be seen!” Opera Ball in the Vienna State Opera. But you can also follow the latter comfortably in your pajamas in front of the TV, just like the AlpineFoxes online tours😉.

Numerous Gschnase (i.e. costume parties) and of course the elegant Rudolfina Redoute (masks required for women until midnight) round off the offer. If you want, can afford it and have the necessary energy, you can go to several balls almost every weekend during the carnival season.

A couple dancing a waltz
Not everyone dances as gracefully.

My parents were enthusiastic ball goers. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to be taken along watching my mother in her elegant dress and my father in his tuxedo preparing for the ball. My grandmother with her dry but loving humor, whose thankless job it was always to supervise her defiant granddaughter during such a ball night, would say to me: “You are going to the Feather Ball today.” My disappointment when I found out that it meant nothing other than: "You're going to sleep!", was boundless! To this day I have not become a fan of Feather Balls.

Ash Wednesday means the end of the carnival season. To slow down, I recommend a visit to the Art History Museum. There, in the fantastic Breughel Hall, there is a large-format painting waiting: “The Battle between Carnival and Fasting”, which you can spend a long time in front of and still discover something new. I would also be happy to show you on one of my tours of this great museum.

With this in mind, I wish you all a happy carnival season, whether in a costume or a gown, whether as a “jester” or as a ball princess/prince/king/queen: Have fun and have a good time!

You can find more information about the balls here:


At which ball will we meet soon? Or will we rather see each other on one of my tours?

As always, you can find all upcoming tours here:!

See you soon,

And of course: Alles Walzer!

Your Claudia from the AlpineFoxes

Picture Credit: (1) Gryffindor, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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