The museum regards it as its duty to document living tradition accurately and by so doing, to contribute to its preservation. Tradition is only really alive if it is executed by the public in regular intervals, without the nead of a subsidy. In the case of "Krampuslaufen" it is extremely alive although or maybe because frequent attempts were made to prohibit this tradition in the past.
Nikolaus und Krampus
Nikolaus was bishop of Myra in the 3rd century, and very popular amongst his fellow citizens because he secretly gave them presents. To follow his charitable example the "Nikolausgehen" became a widely-spread tradition in alpine countries. In Gastein Nikolaus is accompanied by an angel, a basket carrier and a large number of Krampusse normally five to seven. All together they form the "Pass".
Typical for the Gastein valley is the predominating part of hellish elements, which was also the reason why the church wanted to prohibit this practise in the 17th and 18th century. Krampus-running is very popular in Gastein. On the 5th and 6th of December 12 to 15 groups run through the town and the outskirts of Gastein. The wooden mask with genuine goat- and ram-horns, the sheepskin coat and the bell-belt are family possessions. The oldest Krampus masks are exhibited. They are carved wooden masks with pointed animal ears and fangs in a "Dracula-like style". Next to these, there are modern Krampus masks, which are still in use today.
The "Perchten" procession through the Gastein valley takes place every fourth year between the 1st and 6th of January. The large model presentation shows an almost complete Perchten procession, placed in a winter landscape, with beautiful and ugly Perchten and the band, as it can also be seen in reality, when these queer figures move along snow-covered paths somewhere between Badbruck and Remsach.
Our ancestors thought that demons, fairies, goblins and other mysterious demonic creatures lived in the mountains. Winter Solstice is the time when the sun reaches its lowest point south and is reborn at the beginning of a new cycle of season. This is also the time when spirits walk the nights and pagan beliefs are celebrated; it is the time for "Perchta" to appear.
It is assumed that "Perchta" is the lower German name for the Germanic goddess Freya. Her most striking trait is her contrasting façade. Her appearance can be male or female, beautiful or ugly, and her attitude towards mankind can be either friendly or hostile.
For pictures go to:
Bilder zum Brauchtum
Bilder zu Nokolaus und Krampus