Customs by season

Spring

Carnival marks the transition between winter and spring and represents a symbolic fight against the dark forces of winter that, when successfully won, leads straight into the start of the Easter season. The victory of life over death manifests itself in Tyrolean Easter traditions, for example on Palm Sunday. These spring traditions are usually very colourful and ceremonial and culminate in various processions, especially around Corpus Christi. 

Summer

Two holidays characterise the summer traditions in Tyrol: Sacred Heart Sunday and Hohe Frauentag. Both are inextricably linked with the Tyrolean fight for freedom against Napoleonic troops in 1809. On both days, you can experience genuine Tyrolean customs at their best. The lighting of the mountain fires is particularly special and a tradition that goes back to pre-Christian times.

Autumn

Tyrol is the land of alpine pastures and, every year, thousands of animals spend the summer grazing in them. At the beginning of autumn, traditional "Almabtrieb" celebrations are held as the animals are brought back down into the valley. The parades are particularly magnificent if no animals have come to harm that year. St Martin's Day, celebrated on 11 November, once marked the end of the farming year. It was traditionally when farm hands and maids received their wages and the nobility their tithes. Today, the festive mood lives on in the St. Martin's Day goose feasts.

Winter

On one hand, winter was a turning point in the farming year. On the other, it was the season that determined the welfare and woes of the people who lived in the dark, cold mountain valleys. Christmas festivities at the beginning of winter now seamlessly lead into carnival celebrations. This was traditionally because the hardship and misery brought on by the long, cold winters was blamed on witches and spirits of nature. The customs after Christmas are, therefore, usually expulsion rituals, with the Tyrolean carnival celebrations leading the way. 

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