Mozart Timeline

Did Mozart celebrate Christmas?

In the time of Mozart’s youth – the second half of the 18th century – Christmas was most certainly one of the most important holidays in Catholic Salzburg. We do not know what the celebration of Christmas would have looked like in the Mozart family residence in Getreidegasse alley and at Makartplatz square in Salzburg. But it is possible that they had a Christmas tree…

05 December 2013 Events

The custom to have a fir tree decorated with tinsel, colourful glass balls and candles spread all over the world from Germany in the 19th century. However, there are a few surviving reports of decorated Christmas trees from the 18th century. It is perfectly possible that a cultivated, well-travelled family such as the Mozarts would have had one in their parlour. The same is true of nativity scenes. The display of the holy family with ox and ass grew in popularity in the 18th century.

We know for a fact that Mozart was very fond of the typical Christmas beverage – punch. He got to know and appreciate punch in England in 1764, at a time when punch was unheard of in Salzburg. In a letter to his Salzburgian friend Hagenauer, Leopold Mozart enthusiastically wrote about the future favourite drink of his son – and provided a recipe!

A family Christmas was most certainly an uncommon occurrence for the Mozart family. Father and son constantly travelled – even in winter. Young Mozart spent the Christmas of 1769 in Rovereto, Italy. He and his father were invited to Christmas dinner by Baron Nicolò Christani, Leopold Mozart’s student, at his palazzo in Villa Lagarina. Mozart performed his first concert in Italy for Baron Todeschi, the mayor of Rovereto. It is also reported that Mozart played the organ in the Chiesa di San Marco church in Rovereto on December 26th. The church was so crowded that Mozart had to struggle to make his way to the organ.

And Mozart in Vienna?

Wolfgang and Konstanze had six children, of whom unfortunately only two sons lived long enough to reach adulthood. It is highly likely that the Mozarts spent merry Christmas celebrations with their children and possibly some friends. The Mozarts were widely known for their hospitality and it is very likely that they would have invited some friends and students.

Which leads us to the coming Christmas: we wish all readers of mozart.com a merry Christmas, peaceful holidays and a happy new year!

Did Mozart celebrate Christmas in his time?

Did Mozart celebrate Christmas in his time?

We wish you Mozart-inspired Holidays! Source: Wikimedia