Vienna welcomes the New Year with true elegance and style. As New Year’s eve approaches, many people from Austria and even other countries who love to waltz prepare themselves for the start of the Vienna Balls.
The Kaiserball is the traditional opener of the grand ball season and this takes place every December 31st at the Hofburg palace. This event opens with the changing of guard as performed by the Imperial Guard situated at the entrance hall of the palace. Guests are then invited by the orchestras to dance in the state chambers decorated with thousands of lovely and colorful flowers.
As guests enter the palace, they are greeted by the royal family led by Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Josef. Cocktails including red and white wine or champagne are served to them as the Hoffball Orchestra led by Johann Straub play classical music. The ladies also receive a small gift from the so-called footmen.
This 2010 is considered as the Mozart year and so, a special Mozart Lounge will be in place. Right after the welcome cocktails, dancing and musical entertainment starts at the various halls.
Dancing the waltz is a major part of the Kaiserball. This takes place through the Hofburg Palace staterooms with men dressed in their livery and women dressed in their beautiful gowns. But that’s not where the event ends.
At the stroke of midnight, the Pummerin or the bell from St. Stephan’s Cathedral is rung. This is a signal for the Imperial Couple to greet the guests with a Happy new year.
From there, the Viennese Operatta Gala follows after midnight at the Grand Festival Hall. Guests can watch a lively performance featuring the Vienna State Opera and Volksopera’s singers and dancers.
Kaiserball guests can choose to take part in the four-course pre-ball dinner or in the buffet served throughout the evening. The pre-ball dinner is served in various halls of the palace with waiters in silk livery serving the food.