Goasslschnölln & Aperschnalzen whip-cracking

Where: Axams from Epiphany until Unsinniger Donnerstag (the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday) and from the traditional "Almabtrieb" parade until the church festival on the 3rd Sunday in October.
Hötting: "Aperschnellen" whip-cracking from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday

Do you know what "Goasslschnölln" and "yodelling" have in common? They are both sounds that were formerly used as a means of communication on alpine pastures. "Goasslschnölln" refers to the crack of a whip and this sound carries for kilometres in the mountains. As a result, it is still popular with alpine farmers today. This form of communication has now become a custom twice over: firstly during the "Almabtrieb" celebrations, when "Schnöllern" accompany the parades with their whips, and secondly as one of the noises used to expel evil spirits and demons during carnival celebrations. The supersonic crack of these long whips can also be heard during "Aperschnellen" when it's used to drive away the snow.

Carnival

The battle between good and evil rages on every year in the towns and villages of the Innsbruck region. The carnival brings with it all sorts of colourful characters: Wampeler, Schleicher, witches, Spiegeltuxer and many others join the celebrations. The characters wear elaborate costumes that are richly decorated with mirrors, tassels, embroidery and more. Others stuff their costumes with straw or wear suits covered in bits of wood. And every character has a very specific meaning, displays typical behaviour or is an allegory for spring or winter, good or evil. The carnival characters are a lot of fun and sometimes it even gets a little wild. An absolute must-see! 

Easter

Spring is coming, and with it Easter. A colourful time of year that we like to celebrate with Easter markets. Everything about Easter can be found on the following page.

Grasausläuten in Amras

Where: Amras; when: St. George's Day

Grausausläuten is a spring tradition that is rarely practised in Innsbruck today. Amras is the only district where the young boys, mainly members of the Carnival Association and the Young Farmers Association, still go around with bells on St George's Day (23 April) to promote the beginning of spring and the growth of the grass – the jangling and clanging sounds of the bells are thought to awaken the grass.

Eating St Blaise pretzels and reviving the "Joggl"

Eating St Blaise pretzels and reviving the "Joggl" on Saint Blaise's Day in Völs
Where: Völs, when: Saint Blaise's Day, 3 February.


The custom of the "Blasiusbrezn" (St Blaise pretzels) in the town of Völs is a prime example of how pre-Christian cults have been preserved right through to the present day. On 3 February, the town not only celebrates the feast of its patron saint, Saint Blaise, but also brings the "Joggl", the symbolic character from the Völs’ Carnival celebrations, back to life.
 
The Church of Saint Blaise in Völs enjoys a truly unique location. It towers up high above the town and was most probably built on top of what was once a pre-Christian ritual site. Given the church's namesake, it comes as no surprise that the 3 February has been declared a local holiday in Völs. This special day begins very early in the morning, when the pastor heads to the local bakery to bless the special "Blasiusbrezn" pretzels, which are then taken to the church in a procession, ready for mass. After the service, they are devoured by the congregation, especially its younger members.
 
When the last bells of the church celebrations have finished ringing out from the Church of Saint Blaise, the carnival fun kicks off in the village centre. It begins with the revival of the town’s "Joggl" character in a ceremony that goes on late into the night.

Feast day celebrations

Patronal festivals are held in many Tyrolean towns and villages to celebrate the patron saint of the local church. They often involve local musicians and ceremonial marksmen. Examples of such celebrations include the Zacchaeus Singing in Zirl, the Procession of Saint Giles in Igls and the Saint Blaise's Day customs in Völs.

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