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Sometimes they are bizarre, often religiously motivated or have something to do with old crafts or highly specific regional peculiarities and lore of the local inhabitants: typical traditions and their upkeep are experiencing a revival (or were never really away) in many regions of Austria and are also included more and more often in touristic packages.
But it doesn’t always have to be old traditions and customs that have been handed down from time immemorial – the younger generations and their ideas are following suit. In recent years, “Lederhosen Thursday” has established itself among the young men of the city of Salzburg, for example. And it cannot be denied that Hallowe’en has also well and truly arrived in Austria. But our Perchten and Trommelweiber parades are of course every bit as good as these new trends – after all, they were already here long before.
In my opinion, Austria’s spring customs and traditions are simply the most romantic. And no wonder, for it gets warm again, everything is blossoming and fragrant and, at last, romanticism and being in the great outdoors is a priority again after the long, cold winter months.
Everything takes place outdoors in summer, both in the cities and in the countryside. We celebrate the summer solstice, the equinox, the flowers, the Alpine summer, the herbs – and there’s sometimes even a little “wrestling” involved traditionally. But there’s always a serious element in there somewhere.
There are plenty of traditional festivals in Austria in the autumn months, too. After all, the harvest is in, the animals come back down from the Alpine pastures and there’s a lot to be done. For time immemorial, the hard work has then been rewarded with the old customs.
When the Ausseerland locals speak of Fashing, or carnival, as being the fifth season, they are not exaggerating. Carnival is an exceptional time of year, in many regions of Austria and particularly on Faschigsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday). And some of the traditions might well give you a fright!
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