Right after Christmas, once they whisk the Christmas markets and stalls away (though Gluwein stands get to stay through carnival – hurrah!), a caravan of white pop-up vans stealthily rolls into town in Vienna, all of them selling…pigs. Stuffed pigs, glass pigs, plastic pigs, obscene pigs, hats that look like pigs, cheap pigs, expensive pigs, big pigs, small pigs…you name it. Last year, we were away for the Christmas holiday but came back for New Year’s and couldn’t figure out what was going on with all these pigs.
As it turns out, pigs are a sign of good luck here in Austria (or at least, in Vienna), and known as the “gluckschwein” (“lucky pig”). Perhaps this has something to do with the Austrian love of pork and pork products. The idea is that you buy these for good luck in the coming new year. And then new year’s day, the caravans are gone with nary a pig in sight. Here’s to good luck in 2011!