&noscript=1 /> Customs kept alive on farms in South Tyrol Customs kept alive on farms in South Tyrol
Customs Customs and traditions
Traditional costumes and the harvest festival

Traditional costumes and the harvest festival

Customs and traditions are very important on the farms in South Tyrol. They live on and keep history alive.

Customs and traditions are very important on the farms in South Tyrol. They live on and keep history alive.

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Traditional costumes that are still cherished centuries later. Bunches of herbs that protect against evil and pastries that don't just taste great, but which are also part of the culture. Plus, a festival that reminds you every year that a good harvest shouldn't be taken for granted. Customs and traditions are deeply rooted in the farming world. Not only, but especially there, the customs determine the course of the year month after month and give life a pleasant continuity. Follow the traces of South Tyrolean customs.

Expression of local folk culture

In South Tyrol, there are almost as many different traditional costumes as there are valleys and towns, and these are still regularly donned by music bands, folk dance groups, church choirs and rifle companies at ceremonies and religious festivals. Farming families also like to wear traditional costumes on special holidays and occasions.

Originally, traditional costumes in South Tyrol were the typical attire of the farming community. Skilful women farmers spent hours making most of them by hand themselves - they learnt to embroider, spin, felt and sew at an early age. Up until the 18th century, farmers were only allowed to wear clothing made from fabrics they had made themselves, such as loden and wool. Luxury textiles such as velvet and silk were reserved for the nobility and middle classes. These strict regulations were only abolished under Empress Maria Theresia. During this period, the simple farmers' clothing developed into a real artistic traditional costume and became an important status symbol. The costume showed which valley or area one belonged to and even today, it is a sign of local affiliation. Despite the many regional characteristics, traditional costumes in South Tyrol also have some things in common. Women wear a dress with a blouse and an apron and tying the bow around the apron reveals more than you think: worn on the left means that the woman is single. If the woman is in a relationship or already married, the bow is worn on the right. Men proudly wear their indestructible 'Lederhosen' with a 'Fatschn', a leather belt richly decorated with quill embroidery.

Bunches of herbs protect against evil

Many South Tyrolean customs have their origin in the Catholic Church. One of them is celebrated on August 15th on Assumption Day. The oldest Marian festival in South Tyrol is also called Our Lady's Day. In honour of Mary, the day is all about herbs, because, according to tradition, flowers were found in her grave instead of a corpse.

On the occasion of the Marian festival, South Tyrolean farmers make beautiful bouquets of wild herbs and fresh field flowers, which are then consecrated in the church. The herb bunches consist of at least seven different herbs. Seven, because there are seven sacraments in the Catholic faith or because Mary had to suffer seven pains. This holiday is very important for the farming families, partly because of their deep-rooted belief in the power of herbs. This comprehensive knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation, above all by farmwomen. After consecration, the bunches of herbs are hung up in the attic, in the hay barn or at the family altar. If an animal is sick, the farmers mix the ground leaves into the feed. When a thunderstorm approaches, the herbs are burned to keep lightning away. The consecrated herb bunches are said to keep evil away and bring luck, blessings and health to the farm.

Festive pastries with sweet fillings

When the smell of 'Krapfen' is in the air, it means it's the day of the village fête, or there's something to celebrate on the farm. Traditional festive pastries are only available in South Tyrol on high days and holidays.

Rectangular, square, oblong or crescent-shaped, these pastries vary from valley to valley. The sweet fillings are also varied. Sometimes jam or poppy seeds are used, others prefer chestnuts or dried pears. What all variants have in common is the dough, which is made from wheat and rye flour, butter, milk, egg, cream and a pinch of salt. So that the sweet filling does not escape when being baked in the hot oil, the edges of the dough must be pressed firmly and then rolled with the doughnut wheel. This also creates the wavy edge so characteristic of this type of 'Krapfen'. Many old customs on the farm revolve around this coveted delicacy, such as begging for 'Krapfen' in November. This custom is still practised today, especially in Ultental, Pfunderer Tal and Ahrntal valleys, where boys in disguise go from farm to farm to beg for doughnuts from farmwomen. Why 'Krapfen'? They have always been regarded as cult and consecration pastries that bring luck and blessings.


Thanks for the successful harvest

The success of the hard work on the often farm hinges on a few weeks. In the harvest season, the fruits of the farming labour are brought in. On fruit and wine farms, as well as in the farm garden, this time extends from summer to autumn.

Every year, the farming family thanks God for the successful harvest. And not just in thoughts, but also with a fitting celebration. The income on the farm depends on the hard work of the farmers and is guided by nature's vagaries. Persistent dry periods or devastating storms can threaten a harvest. For this reason, the farmers are dependent on divine help. When the fruits are finally brought in and the crates, bottles and glasses are piled up in the cellar, it's time to say thank you. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the church with a feast. When the occasion comes around, gifts are brought to the altar and Thanksgiving decorations are an important part. In many villages in South Tyrol, an artistic crown made of fruit, vegetables and flowers is fashioned. A special form of giving thanks is 'Törggelen' in tavern 'Stuben'. The end of the harvest is celebrated with young wine, typical farm specialties and roasted chestnuts. Every year, the traditional harvest festival expresses the unbreakable bond between farmers and nature.

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