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Thread: Alpine Traditions

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    Default Alpine Traditions

    Krampus



    The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions the Krampus is represented by an incubus demon in company of Saint Nicholas. Krampus acts as an anti-Saint Nicholas where instead of giving gifts to good children, he gives warnings and punishments to the bad children. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly in the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition also includes slight birching by the Krampus, especially of young females.

    The present day Krampus costume consists of wooden masks or Larve, sheep's skin and horns. Considerable effort goes into the manufacture of the hand-crafted masks, as many younger adults in rural communities engage competitively in the Krampus events.

    In Oberstdorf, in the southwestern alpine part of Bavaria, the tradition of the "Wilde Mann" (wild man) is kept alive. He is described exactly like Krampus (except the horns), dressed in fur and frightening children (and adults) with rusty chains and bells. Wilde Mann however, is not an assistant of Saint Nicholas.

    Perchten
    Percht follower



    Originally, the word Perchten (plural of Perchta) referred to the female masks representing the entourage of Frau Perchta or Pehta baba as is known in Slovenia, an ancient goddess (some claim a connection to the nordic goddess Freyja, though this is uncertain). Traditionally, the masks were displayed in processions (Perchtenlauf) during the last week of December and first week of January, and particularly on 6 January. The costume consists of a brown wooden mask and brown or white sheep's skin. In recent times Krampus and Perchten have increasingly been displayed in a single event, leading to a loss of distinction of the two. Perchten are associated with midwinter and the embodiment of fate and the souls of the dead. The name originates from the Old High German word peraht, or brilliant.

    Regional variations of the name include Berigl, Berchtlmuada, Berchta, Pehta, Perhta-Baba, Zlobna Pehta, Bechtrababa, Sampa, Stampa, Lutzl, Zamperin, Pudelfrau, Zampermuatta and Rauweib. The Roman Catholic Church attempted to prohibit the sometimes rampant practise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but later condoned it, resulting in a revival.

    In the Pongau region of Austria large processions of Schönperchten (beautiful Perchten) and Schiachperchten (ugly Perchten) are held every winter. Other regional variations include the Tresterer in the Austrian Pinzgau region, the stilt dancers in the town of Unken, the Schnabelpercht (trunked Percht) in the Unterinntal region and the Glöcklerlaufen (bell running) in the Salzkammergut. A number of large ski resorts have turned the tradition into a tourist attraction drawing large crowds every winter.

    Badalisc



    The badalisc (or badalisk) is a "good" mythological animal who lives in the woods of Andrista, in Val Camonica, Italy. During an annual town festival someone dresses up as the creature and is "captured" and brought to the town. The animal is made to tell the people of the town gossip. At the end of the festival the creature is released until the next year's ceremony.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Chr...ine_traditions

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    Default Swiss folklore

    Swiss folklore is used to describe a collection of local stories, celebrations and customs of the alpine and sub-alpine peoples that occupy Switzerland. The country of Switzerland is made up of several distinct cultures including German, French, Italian as well as the Romansh speaking population of Graubünden. Each group brought their own folklore traditions with them.

    Switzerland has always occupied a crossroads of Europe. While Switzerland has existed as an alliance and country since 1291, the Swiss as a culture and people existed well before this time. Before the Swiss, the region was occupied by Pagan and later Christian Germanic tribes which would become the Swiss. Before the Germanic peoples, the region was occupied by Roman and Gallo-Roman populations. Finally, before the Romans the Celtic Helvetii lived in what would become Switzerland. In addition to conquest, Switzerland has been a crossroad of Europe since at least the Roman Empire. Constant movement of cultures and ideas into Switzerland has created a rich and varied folklore tradition.

    Pre-Christian Folklore

    * Barbegazi, a small white furred man with large feet. Helpful and shy they live in the mountains and are rarely seen.
    * Berchtoldstag, festival in honor of Berchta or Berchtold
    * Berchtold, white cloaked being, leader of the Wild Hunt
    * Böögg, or bogeyman, of the Sechseläuten festival
    * Dwarfs, the little hill or earth men. Described as happy and helpful, they raise cattle and produce magical cheeses
    * Dragonet "little dragons" tales originated in Switzerland during the Middle Ages.
    * Fasnacht (or Fastnacht), pre-Lenten carnival
    * Kobolds, called 'Servants'
    * Jack o' the bowl is a house spirit of Switzerland for whom a bowl of sweet cream may be left out.
    * Perchta (or Bertha, Berchta, "The Shining One"), Germanic goddess, and white cloaked leader of the Perchten who drive bad spirits away, and female leader of the Wild Hunt. January 6 is her festival day.
    * Perchten, those followers who work with Perchta, as well the name of their wooden animal masks.
    * Samichlaus leads a donkey laden with treats and toys for children.
    o Schmutzli, St. Nicholas' sooty helper (see Companions of Saint Nicholas)
    * The Singing Fir Tree, a Swiss fairy tale
    * Bäregräubschi and Chöderchessi, traditional wedding presents in the Simmental (Bernese Oberland). The former being a kind of fork symbolising the male element in the wedding. The latter being a magical bucket symbolising the female part. Reported in an Italian anthology of Alpine culture in the 1860s, it is unknown, whether this custom is still in use
    * Schnabelgeiss, a tall goat with a beak in Ubersitz
    * Treicheln
    * Chlausjagen
    * Ubersitz
    o Huttefroueli (or Greth Schell), an old woman who carries her
    husband on her back
    * Tschäggätä
    * Vogel Gryff (the Griffin Bird)

    Legends of Pre-Confederate Switzerland (Alemannia)

    * Saint Gall, Irish monk who in the early 7th Century helped introduce Christianity to eastern Switzerland. The Abbey of St. Gall is believed to have been built on the site of his hermitage[4]
    * Magnus of Füssen, a missionary saint in southern Germany. He was active in the 7th or 8th Century and is considered the founder of St. Mang's Abbey, Füssen
    * Saint Fridolin, patron of Glarus

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_folklore

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    Lelelele Krampus I saw that movie

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    Let's not forget the Tatzelwurm:

    "In Alpine folklore, the Tatzelwurm or Stollenwurm is a lizard-like creature, often described as having the face of a cat, with a serpent-like body which may be slender or stubby, with four short legs or two forelegs.

    The alleged creature is sometimes said to be venomous, or attacks with poisonous breath, and to make a high-pitched or hissing sound.

    Anecdotes describing encounters with the creature or briefly described lore about them can be found in several areas of Europe, including the Austrian, Bavarian, Italian and Swiss Alps. It has several other regional names, including Bergstutz, Springwurm, Praatzelwurm, and in French, arassas."

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    Nice to see that pre-Christian European religions are not totally dead.


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