Balls, formal dances, are a very important part of the Austrian culture. Every high school organizes one every year which is very similar to Prom in the U.S. but in Austria parents and other relatives, teachers, friends from other schools, and everyone who wants to come is welcome to join. The dress code is formal. Women wear long gowns, although more and more short dresses can be found at the high school balls nowadays. Men come in suits. Usually people start going to dances when they are 15 or 16 years old and it is common to take ball room dance classes during the fall semester before the dance season (most dances take place between the beginning of December and the end of February)
Besides the high school dances there are a lot of even more formal balls, which are organized by different clubs, organizations, and universities. The decoration at these dances is impressive and the gorgeous dresses make you feel like you have travelled through time back to the time of princes and princesses. There is a show at the beginning which is performed by Debutanten and Debuetantinnen in suits and white dresses. The dance is officially opened with the Waltz, one of the most traditional and well-known ball room dances and there is usually also a midnight show.
Some of the major balls in Vienna are:
Zuckerbaeckerball (lots of yummy cakes)
Le Grand Bal (New Year’s Ball)
Ball der Wiener Wirtschaft