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The Aldranser Huttler
Proud tradition. From “Bojazl” to “Spiegeltuxer”.
Nurtured for generations, handed down with pride and experienced today in all its glory – the “Aldranser Huttler” celebration is one of the most precious traditions in the region. The impressive characters pass through the streets wearing old masks that have been intricately carved and painted. The “Bojazl” leads the way, dancing about with almost artistic dexterity.
The characters and their elaborate costumes
An ugly witch follows the “Bojazl”. She sweeps the ground in front of her with short, sharp movements to make space for the rest of the parade that stomps along behind her to a mystical beat. The witch is closely followed by the “Vorlaffer”. These characters are dressed in white shirts, white trousers decorated with colourful patches and bells, green braces and a traditional, wide belt. Their impressive wooden masks portray a serious expression and are topped off with a traditional hat that is decorated with an oval “Schein” – a mitre-like structure made from artificial flowers, glass feathers, mirrors and tassels. According to legend, the mirrors serve as protection against evil demons who are scared away by the sight of their own reflection.
The “Vorlaffern” are followed by the “Schiangianer” who are traditionally dressed in Lederhosen, a white shirt, braces and a belt. Their youthful masks and delicately decorated traditional hats give them an almost feminine air and earn them their name.
The “Zaggler” are colourful and strong in their blue suits, decorated with little woollen tassels and bells. Their masks are grim and bearded and they wear a headscarf under their characteristic, wide-brimmed hats. The brim is decorated with a mirror surrounded by straw flowers and glass feathers and is framed with black & light down feathers. Furs and stuffed animals are draped on the other side of the hat.
The “Zottler” wear similar hats that are just as lavish but feature rare peacock feathers instead of down feathers. Their suits are covered in fringes made of linen or wool.
Then come the “Klötzler” dressed in a clattering costume that can be heard from afar. Their outfit is made out of layers of thin wooden blocks and reminiscent of a shingle roof.
The most striking masks are without a doubt worn by the “Altartuxer” or “Spiegeltuxer”. In addition to the customary straw flowers and mirrors, the impressive oval “Schein” also features a little carved church and is surrounded by swaying black and white rooster feathers. These headdresses weigh several kilos and this makes wearing one for the ceremony a particular challenge and honour.
The meaning of the “Aldranser Huttler”
The colourful parade is accompanied by music from an accordion player. Characters turn to the thumping beat and captivate onlookers with their unique performances. When the traditional ritual begins, you can really feel that something special is happening: the stomping and striding, deliberate rotating movements and sudden leaps followed by drops to the knees – accompanied by the odd muffled cry – bring nature back to life. The “Zaggler” and “Zottler” represent the wild winter and autumn demons, the “Vorlaffer” and “Schiangianer” signify the feminine power of spring and summer. These customs have their roots in early springtime Celtic rituals that were designed to drive away winter and awaken the fertile energy of nature.
The “Aldranser Brauchtumsgruppe” (Aldrans Folklore Group)
The Folklore Group in Aldrans was founded in 1977 and plays an active role in every ball. The “Mullerschaug’n” in particular is highly recommended. This event is hosted on the last Friday of the carnival season and brings together many groups from the region to celebrate the culture and tradition at the village hall in Aldrans. The full calendar of events is yet another example of the strong village communities and the wealth of culture and values that are found in the southern holiday villages.