Peace, health and happiness
The Tresterer of Zell am See
a centuries-old custom
When the end of the Rauhnächte (Rough Nights) comes to Pinzgau on 05 January, an ancient custom transforms the darkness into a radiance and glow. In folklore, it is said that the night from 5 to 6 January is the "night of miracles" and ends the time of death and darkness. And it is precisely on this night that the "Tresterer" set out and go from house to house in Zell am See.
The Tresterer, also called Schönperchten, bring luck and blessings as well as fertility and health for the families. With their splendid and elaborate robes in red (defence) and white (purity), they embody the end of the Rauhnächte with a rhythmic stomping and jumping dance and bring light and goodness back into people's homes.
As a traditional family business, we value this old custom very much
and every year we look forward that the Tresterer bring us
a peace, a health and a rhyme.
Along with the marcers, other mystical figures join them on their journey. Each of them has its own role or meaning:
He takes care of space and order in the parlours and farmhouses with his leather sausage and, according to the old Perchten custom, wishes the house inhabitants peace, health and rhyme with his saying: An Fried, an G'sund und an Reim!
They embody the dark winter days, storms, lightning, avalanches, etc., and are expelled from the parlours and farms by the Tresterern, the Schönperchten.
With their pipes and the old traditional melodies they give the Perchten procession a special glamour. Their actual task is to play at the dance of the Schönperchten.
Låpp und Låppin
These two figures promise the judgement of reprimand and the blessing of children. The Låppin carries a "newborn" in her hands and presses it into the hands of younger, female attendants - which is meant to signify the blessing of children soon.
The Håbergoass provides a little relaxation in the parlours after the performance of the Tresterer, she pinches the young girls, strikes out and plays mischievous tricks. The Håbergoass is not only to be found at Perchtenlaufs, but also at Abdruschfesten in autumn or at Aperschnalzen.
Zapfen- und Werchmandl
The "Zapfenmandl", where the hat and cape are decorated with numerous spruce cones, symbolically protects the lumberjacks and forest workers during their work. The Werchmandl, on the other hand, is the protector of the forest and is supposed to keep out wind breakage, pest infestation, etc. and thus secure the important wood for future generations.
Die Hühnerpercht und der Krapfenschnapper
The Hühnerpercht is symbolically also a life-giver. She wears a robe made of feathers that resembles a bird of prey. She is supposed to protect the chickens from griffins such as hawks, buzzards and goshawks. At the end of her performance, she lays an egg that is supposed to symbolise new life.
The doughnut snapper resembles a fox and also appears as the protector of the henhouse. He is supposed to keep foxes, martens and weasels away from the coop. His second task was to lure out as much food as possible, especially doughnuts, from the farmers' wives with the cunning of a fox. That's why he got his name: Krapfenschnapper (doughnut snapper).
The Rauhnächte in Salzburg
The nights between 21 December and the Three Kings on 6 January are often called "the magical time between the years". During these days, one should take the time to reflect on the past year, to come to rest, to let go and to draw strength for new things. For hundreds of years, people have used incense and herbs to ask for protection, purification and togetherness, but also to banish evil spirits from their homes and farms.
The four most important nights of incense in the Alpine region:
- The Thomasnacht (21. Dezember)
- The Christnacht (24. Dezember)
- The Silvesternacht (31. Dezember)
- The Nacht vor Dreikönig (5./6. Januar)
... we wish you a healthy, happy and peaceful new year 2023!