A region with a long history
A region with custom
Many traditional events are still practised and celebrated in style just as they were in the old days. Murau's Samson Parade has its origins in the Old Testament, and the custom dates back to the 18th century. Every 15 August, the figure of Samson is paraded through the old town, accompanied by Murau's Bürgergarde (citizens' guard). The foremost goal of the Bürgergarde is to maintain tradition and keep the custom going. The Passion Plays of St. Georgen can be traced back to 1922. Since their revival in the 1990s, the Plays have been performed four times; the next are planned for 2022. The colourful "Faschingrennen" ("carnival run") is one of the oldest customs in the region. Every year on Rose Monday, participants set out from house to house, to celebrate the arrival of spring with plenty of noise and dancing.
Palm Sunday, the Sunday preceding Easter, commemorates Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem, where the people hailed him with palm branches. Today, decorated palm fronds and branches are consecrated on Palm Sunday. Rattles replace church bells in Holy Week. At the Fleischweihe ("blessing of the flesh") on Holy Saturday, food is blessed and afforded special power. The dishes to be blessed are put in baskets covered with embroidered cloths and usually blessed outdoors over a short prayer. Lighting the Easter Bonfire on Holy Saturday is also a central event for Christians here, with the bonfire serving as a symbol for Christ's resurrection.
The region's customs and traditions come into their own particularly during the Advent period. Local people attach a great deal of importance to maintaining tradition and passing on customs to future generations. Admire the motley Perchten figures at the various Perchten Parades. The Perchten themselves ‒ pagan spirits of folklore ‒ wind through the streets disguised in wooden masks, horns and animal skins. At the Perchten Parade in Murau, several groups of Perchten from the surrounding area are also represented. The figure of Krampus is an equally eerie sight. Traditionally, the Krampus Parade takes place on 5 December, when the Krampus figures accompany St Nicholas about his business.
New Year customs
The custom known as "Frisch und G’sund schlagen" ("beating people healthy") is celebrated on 28 December, otherwise known as Holy Innocents' Day. Children go from house to house carrying rods of twigs to "beat" people with, wishing inhabitants a happy and healthy new year. Between 2 and 6 January, the Sternsinger ("star singers") draw the symbols C+M+B on door frames with chalk, in a traditional house blessing practice.
The Advent season
During Advent, Christmas markets are a superb way to get visitors into the festive spirit. Artisan crafts, culinary delights and the comforting aroma of glühwein really is something incredibly special.