Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Oral Traditions

Narration in Montafon

Applicant: Dr. MMag. Edith Hessenberger, MMag. Michael Kasper, Bürgermeister Rudi Lerch
Province: Vorarlberg

In Montafon, a mountain valley in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, narrative communities have originated from the locals’ daily communication. The contents, moral concepts and patterns of their local legends and tales date back to the 19th and 20th century. Today, this narrative tradition is still an integral element of the local community, cherished both on a daily basis as well as on special occasions. Numerous cultural initiatives and tradition bearers in Montafon actively contribute to the collection and preservation of this local narrative tradition, which as well has been of interest to researchers since the 19th century.


Classical Horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School

Applicant: Spanische Hofreitschule - Bundesgestüt Piber Ges.ö.R., Mag. Erwin Klissenbauer
Province: Vienna

To this day, the Spanish Riding School communicates the high art of classical horsemanship by passing it down orally from one generation of horsemen and horsewomen to the next as well as displaying it publicly in equestrian performances. Young aspiring horsemen learn valuable lessons both from their more advanced peers, as well as from the stallions themselves.


Songs of the Lovara

Applicant: Ruzsa Nikolić-Lakatos
Province: Burgenland, Vienna

Songs are an important part of the Lovara’s cultural tradition. The history behind the name of this Roma group leads us back to their former occupation as “horse traders” (“Lovara”). Their songs are mostly about the family and community, yet the role of the individual and the former ways of life of the Lovara are also mirrored in them. These songs are like a reservoir for their language, as they contain phrases and metaphors typical of the Lovara, which have now (almost) become extinct in everyday life.


Story telling

Applicant: Helmut Wittmann
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

Story telling is the art of entertaining people in a playful and intellectual way by recounting fairy tales.


Austrian Sign Language

Applicant: Helene Jarmer, Präsidentin des Österreichischen Gehörlosenbundes
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

The Austrian Sign Language forms the social and cultural foundation of the Austrian sign language community. It is the mother tongue of the deaf people in Austria and thus reflects an important part of their identity . Since 2005, the Austrian Sign Language has been recognised as a language in its own right, yet many of its users still consider themselves as a linguistic and cultural minority in Austria. The Austrian Sign Language is mostly used by deaf persons and occasionally learned by hearing persons as an additional language. It is used in all regions of Austria with variances in local dialects and correspondingly different vocabulary. The first Sign Language School was founded in V ienna already in 1779. Since then, the language has been cultivated and handed down in schools, associations and families of deaf persons. Additionally, it is passed on in the form of poetry, theatre and performing arts.


The Ötztal dialect

Applicant: Prof. Dr. Hans Haid, Ötztal-Archiv des Ötztaler Heimatvereins
Province: Tyrol

The Ötztal dialect (Oetz Valley, Tyrol), with its 900 years of unchanged tradition, represents the strongest of all components that make up the Ötztaler population’s local identity.


"Roman" - the language of the Romani people of Burgenland

Applicant: Barbara Schrammel i.V. Verein [spi:k] und Emmerich Gärtner-Horvath i.V. Verein Roma Service
Province: Burgenland

“Roman” is a variety of the Romany language, specific to the Romani people living in Burgenland and exclusively spoken in Austria. The history of the language Roman reaches back over 500 years and is still used in the prevalent media of the Romani people of Burgenland. It is mainly spoken in the intimate circle of the family, but also amongst friends and other members of its ethnic group.


Slovenian field and house names in Carinthia

Applicant: Vertreter der Bürgerinitiativen, Vinko Wieser
Province: Carinthia

Traditional Slovenian field and house names are key to understanding the economic, socio-historical and linguistic development of Carinthia and its surroundings. They form part of the cultural heritage of Carinthian Slovenes, as well as the German-speaking inhabitants of the region.


Farmland names of Vorarlberg

Applicant: Mag. Dieter Petras, Thomas Gamon und BM Mag. Harald Sonderegger
Province: Vorarlberg

Due to the fact that large distances often separate the farmland from villages and farm yards, it used to be very important to specify the exact location when finalising contracts, constructing path descriptions and calculating the contributions. Over hundreds of years, these farmland names formed a natural part of the rural realities of life. Only during the profound agricultural restructuring which occurred after the Second World War (mainly in the 1960s) did many of these farmland names become obsolete and threatened by extinction.


Performing arts

Applicant: Matthias Beinsteiner
Province: Upper Austria, Salzburg


Sword dance of Dürrnberg

Applicant: Hermann Gfrerer i. V. Schwerttanz Verein der Dürrnberger Bergknappen
Province: Salzburg

The sword dance of Dürrnberg has been performed for the past 500 years and is closely linked to the salt refinery and mining industry of Salzburg. This round and chain dance, originally rooted in the medieval tradition of artisans and guild dances, was primarily exercised by miners at guild festivals and other great days. Until today, the sword dance is only performed at special occasions.


Carol Singing in Heiligenblut

Applicant: Obmann Hans Schacher i.V. Rotte Hof Heiligenbluter Sternsinger
Province: Carinthia

The 16th century tradition of carol singing in Heiligenblut (Carinthia) has been kept alive until today mostly in its original form. The star song (“Sternlied”) or the blessing of houses using the “CMB” saying (“Christus Mansionem Benedicat” – May Christ bless this house) which is written in chalk over the front door, are still fundamental elements of this tradition.


The “Landler“ of the Innviertel

Applicant: LEADER - Regionen Innviertel und Pramtal
Province: Upper Austria

The history of the dance is inseparably linked with the “Zechen” of the Innviertel. Originally, Zechen were entirely peasant confraternities that cultivated not only a form of conviviality but created their own special combination of dance (“Eicht”), music, poetry and song in a great artistic achievement called the Landler of the Innviertel. Its unique melody, an attached special yodel (“Almer”), as well as its slightly warped three-four rhythm makes the Landler of the Innviertel special within the Austrian “Ländler” family. With its numerous regional and individual manifestations it represents a cultural heritage that looks back on a tradition of over 250 years and is still handed down from one generation to the next.


Jew's Harp Playing in Austria

Applicant: Obmann Dr. Franz Kumpl für den Österreichischen Maultrommelverein
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

The Jew’s Harp is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, particularly common among the Asian Turkic peoples and in Europe. Made from a variety of materials including metal and bamboo, it produces a drone effect. Over time centres of production and unique styles have emerged and, each of which has grown historically and became embedded in the regional folk culture. Since the medieval times Molln in Upper Austria is such a centre, where they even established a guild of jew’s harp makers. Historically, the instrument played a key role in courtship and in convivial musical entertainment. In Austria, a style of play predominates where the player uses two to four instruments, differently tuned, either as a solo instrument or in a duet or trio, and mostly in combination with other instruments.


Applicant: Direktor SR Siegmund Leonhard Kogler
Province: Carinthia


Austrian folk dance movement

Applicant: Dr. Helmut Jeglitsch, Vorsitzender der Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Österreichischer Volkstanz
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

The Austrian folk dance movement is rooted in the research and collecting activity of a few persons at the end of the 19th century. It has borrowed much from rural traditions, despite the fact that these elements have mostly become indistinguishable. Concurrently to the systematisation and chronicling of the various dances, a concentration and alignment towards Austrian peculiarities was begun. Yet, instead of simply collecting and safeguarding the dances for posterity, they are increasingly taught and thus saved from extinction.


Passion Play in Erl

Applicant: Passionspielverein Erl
Province: Tyrol

For the past 400 years, the traditional passion play, originating from the Christian Easter Drama, has been taking place at Erl every six years. Despite its international reputation and its many visitors, this traditional Christian play owes its survival particularly to the inhabitants of Erl, as they – rather than professional actors – take on the parts on stage. The 600 actors are recruited one year before the performance. Committee members make the round of the houses asking all residents of Erl whether they wish to undertake an unspecified part in the passion play. People of all ages ar e involved in the pr oject. Due to the religious background as well as the participants’ wish for continuity, changes in text, music and costumes are only cautiously made as part of the continuous development and updating of the performance.


“Tresterer“-Dance of Pinzgau of the folklore association Salzburg Alpinia

Applicant: GTEV ALPINIA Salzburg vertreten durch Erwin Laubichler
Province: Salzburg

The “Tresterer” dance of Pinzgau is a special, regional manifestation of the Schönperchtenlaufen, a procession of masks. On the 5th of January – the night before Epiphany – this circular dance consisting of jumping and stomping is performed at dusk at farms surrounding the provincial capital of Salzburg. A visit by the “Tresterer” dancers and musicians comes unannounced and is understood as an honour and as a good omen for the upcoming year. It is reciprocated by a small donation. The leader of the group introduces the meaning of the tradition by dancing a typical move. The dancers are partly accompanied by musicians.


Applicant: Johann Hechenblaikner im Auftrag der „Bundesmusikkapelle Reith im Alpbachtal“ und von Max Feichtner (Besitzer des Nikolausspiel-Manuskripts)
Province: Tyrol


“Ruden“ Dance in Sierning

Applicant: Rudenkomitee Sierning
Province: Upper Austria

Until the 20th century, the folk dance “Ländler” had been known as a “dance for all” throughout the Southern German-speaking areas and beyond. In Traunviertel, a region in the south-east of Upper Austria, a very particular manifestation of the Ländler has been handed down by the so-called “Ruden”. Ruden derives from “roti”, which is Old German for pack or herd. Aside from nursing traditions throughout the year, these Ruden – mostly peasant fellowships for young men – have cultivated polyphonic singing, an important prerequisite for performing the Traunviertler Landler which is at the core of the Ruden dance. For the past 200 years, a festivity named “Ruden Fair of Sierning” has been held on Shrove Tuesday, when the Ruden of the Traunviertel (dance groups of about four to eight couples) come together. Aside from the music, dance and song, particular attention is paid to the “Gstanzl” – rhymes of four to eight lines – which are written anew year after year and serve as a moral corrective throughout the region due to their critical and mocking allusions to local, national and global socio-political events.


Carol singing in the Tyrolian Villgraten Valley (Inner and Outer Villgraten)

Applicant: MMag. Robert Schmidhofer, Hermann Lanser
Province: Tyrol

Every year between Christmas and the Epiphany, the traditional carol singing takes places in the Tyrolian Villgraten Valley. For two days, two groups wander from house to house to sing traditional New Year’s carols.


Applicant: PrEsident Rudolf Hödl
Province: Upper Austria


Viennese Yodeling

Applicant: Mag. Agnes Palmisano
Province: Vienna

Viennese-style yodeling is an important element of the local musical culture. Tootling is an important element of the Viennese singing culture. Its origins go back to the beginning of the 19th century, when Tyrolean singers’ societies toured European cities to introduce the population to the tradition of yodeling. In Vienna, yodeling was primarily developed in Ottakring and Hernals (16th and 17th Districts).


Social Practices

"Anklöpfeln" in the Tyrolean lowlands

Applicant: Joch Weißbacher i. V. Oberauer Anklöpfler
Province: Tyrol

„Anklöpfeln“ (dialect for “to knock”) is a practice cultivated in the Tyrolean lower Inn valley. Here, a group of mostly male singers dress up as shepherds and visit the neighbouring houses on the three Thursdays before Christmas (“knocking nights”). The singers are invited into the homes and strike up several songs to herald the Christmas message of the birth of Jesus Christ.


“Aperschnalzen” in the historic Rupertiwinkel

Applicant: Ing. Ernst Müller, Ehrenobmann Schnalzergruppe Wals
Province: Salzburg

“Aperschnalzen” refers to a more than 200-year-old tradition practised in the Rupertiwinkel which includes several villages on both sides of the border rivers Saalach and Salzach in Bavaria (Germany) and Salzburg (Austria). Between St. Stephen’s Day (26th of December) and Shrove Tuesday, the “Passen” (groups of nine members) crack their whips during their meetings in order to produce a certain beat. In addition to their performances at festive events, they participate in contests at community level and compete for the annual Rupertigau prize.


Mountain fires at the Ehrwalder Talkessel in Tyrol

Applicant: Karlheinz Somweber, Erich Steiner, Martin Senftlechner, Gebhard Schatz, Ehrwald e.V
Province: Tyrol

Every year, the mountain fires at the Ehrwalder Talkessel in Tyrol burn brightly around the summer solstice of June 21. Each participating group chooses a figure that is to be drawn, drafted according to the inclination of ground and built using different types of fuel. These figures, which are always topical and up-to-date, are not revealed before June 21.


Mining culture in Bleiberg

Applicant: Bergmännischer Kulturverein und Marktgemeinde Bad Bleiberg
Province: Carinthia

For centuries, coal mining constituted the economic basis of life for the inhabitants of Bad Bleiberg. Even though the mine in Bad Bleiberg (Carinthia) has been closed since 1992, numerous initiatives try hard to safeguard and transfer the traditions passed down by the “Knappenkultur”: the miners’ language, sloping tunnels, “Knappenspiel” (a form of theatre play performed in mines), “Ledersprung” and the Saint Barbara mass (both in honour of the miners’ patron). Traces of this culture can be found in house and field names, the performing arts and throughout society.


“Bloch-pulling” in Fiss

Applicant: Verein "Blochziehen Fiss": Obmann Christian Kofler, Obmannstellv. Thomas Wachter
Province: Tyrol

The “bloch-pulling” in Fiss (“bloch” is the trunk of a stone pine) belongs to the largest carnival traditions in the Alpine region. It takes place every two years, the “bloch-pulling” of the adults taking turns with the children’s “bloch-pulling” (for six to fourteen-year-olds). At the end of autumn, the fetching of the “Bloch” tree occurs, where a magnificent stone pine is felled, guarded and placed on three sledges two days prior to the carnival procession. On the day of the procession, the participating figures assemble at the village centre and – at the command of the wagoner – the “Bloch” is put into motion by numerous masked persons. Witches and devils (“Schwoaftuifl”) attempt to hamper the moving of the “Bloch”. Playful elements are not only an essential detail, but also serve as entertainment for the spectators. Once the “Bloch” has arrived at the school house, it is then auctioned off.


Rag Procession in Ebensee

Applicant: Johannes Scheck i. V. Verein Ebenseer Fasching
Province: Upper Austria

The annual rag procession in Ebensee is a carnival procession on Shrove Monday in and around Ebensee, whose exact beginning has not yet been identified. The participants, the so-called “rags”, dress up in old women’s clothes with rags sewed onto them. In addition, they wear a "rag hat" as well as an elaborately carved wooden mask.


"Glöcklerlauf" in Ebensee

Applicant: Edi Promberger
Province: Upper Austria

The tradition of the “Glöcklerlauf” on January 5 (a specific type of race where participants carry large decorated caps made of paper on their heads) originated in Ebensee (Upper Austria) and spread throughout the whole Salzkammergut region around the Wolfgangsee (“Lake Wolfgang”) to Styria. Recent decades have shown increased interest in this tradition in large parts of Salzkammergut because the region’s potential as a tourist attraction has officially been acknowledged.


Imst Carnival - "Schemenlaufen"

Applicant: Die Gemeinschaft der Imster Fasnachtler, Obmann Uli Gstrein, Mag. Manfred Thurner
Province: Tyrol

The Imst Carnival (Tyrolian Upperland) is a form of carnival procession with 26 different sorts of masks that takes place every four years.


Carnival Nassereith - “Schellerlaufen“

Applicant: Obmann Spielmann Gerhard im Namen vom Fasnachtskomitee Nassereith für die Gemeinschaft der Nassereither Fasnacht
Province: Tyrol

The Nassereith Carnival, also known as “Schellerlaufen” since 1951, is a carnival tradition that has been taking place every three years in the village of Nassereith in Tyrol on a day between Epiphany (6 January) and Ash Wednesday. The procession forms the heart of the Nassereith Carnival, distinguishing itself through its colourfulness and the typical wooden masks. Part of it is the “Schellerlaufen”, performed according to precise rules that have been passed down from generation to generation together with the know-how involved in making the masks, costumes and other carnival accessories. Its organisation is handled by a carnival committee, first elected in 1923 and serving for s ix years.


Festive Practices of the Citizen and Shooting committees of the district of Murau

Applicant: Obmann Rudolf Paschek für den Bezirksverband der Bürger- und Schützengarden des Bezirkes Murau
Province: Styria

The district of Murau in the Austrian province of Styria assembles five citizen guards and militias whose origins can be traced back to the 17 th century. Several times a year, they participate as ceremonial guards in festive events and religious processions, thereby contributing to the solemnity of each occasion. Due to their traditional connection to the church, the guards sally forth at Corpus Christi and the feast of the community patron saint. They also serve as honour guards for jubilees, weddings and high-ranking visitors. They are characterised by their traditional uniforms, arms and a typical marching order.


The Carrying of the Freiung at the Maxlaun in Niederwölz

Applicant: Mag. Alfred Baltzer und Ing. Rudolf Paschek für den Arbeitskreis Volkskultur Murau
Province: Styria

The procession of the Maxlaun Market revolves around the “Freiung”, symbol of the market privilege. The three-day market is held annually at Niederwölz in the district of Murau on the second weekend of October. Its name is derived from Maximilian, the church patron venerated on 12 October. In his honour citizens organise a parade to carry the “Freiung”, a festively decorated arm carved out of wood, painted black and holding a sword, to the market square along a traditional route. It symbolised the freedom of the market, unrestricted trading rights and public peace through a ban on carrying arms. Nowadays, the mayor chooses the bearer of the symbol who in turn appoints a person charged with ensuring passage through the crowd. The procession is accompanied by the local band and choir, the fire brigade and the men of the mountain rescue service.


Bonfire Sunday

Applicant: Mag. Hanno Platzgummer i.V. Funkenzunft Oberdorf
Province: Vorarlberg

The celebration of Bonfire Sunday (“Funkensonntag“), a holiday on the first Sunday after Ash Wednesday, is commonplace throughout the whole of Vorarlberg. Each community organizes its own bonfire (“Funken”). Vorarlberg’s largest city, Dornbirn, is famous for having several bonfires, which are arranged by a variety of bonfire guilds.


"Perchten" of Gastein

Applicant: Andreas Mühlberger i.V. Verein Gasteiner Perchten
Province: Salzburg

The tradition of the „Perchten“ in Gastein takes us back in time to the historic “carnival runs” during the Renaissance and the Rococo. The “Perchten run” takes place every four years between New Year’s Day and the Epiphany in the region of Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein. Amongst the circa 140 different figures that participate in the run, there are around 30 cap wearers (“Kappenträger”) with impressive headdresses, some of which are several meters high. These cap wearers bring blessings and good wishes to the audience by way of short dances and a bow at the command of the “Perchten” captain.


Applicant: Tiroler Landestrachtenverband, Obmann Oswald Gredler
Province: Tyrol


Confraternity of the Sacred Tomb in Pfunds

Applicant: Heiliggrab-Bruderschaft Pfunds, Prof. Robert Klien
Province: Tyrol

Founded more than 500 years ago, the Holy Grave Fraternity continues to uphold the tradition of setting up the Holy Grave in the Liebfrauen Church at Pfunds on the Saturday before Palm Sunday as well as praying to the Eucharist continuously from Good Friday until Holy Saturday. It is a great honour to become a Brother of the Holy Grave. This privilege is passed on from generation to generation without differentiating between hierarchy, education, social standing or wealth. The Holy Grave Fraternity has always remained independent of the Catholic Church and the local government. It is made up of 12 groups, each consisting of 16 men, which also includes women and the young in their activities.


"Hundstoaranggeln"

Applicant: Salzburger Rangglerverband, Landesobmann Hans Bernsteiner
Province: Salzburg

“Hundstoaranggeln” (a type of physical competition or form of wrestling match) is probably the oldest sport found in the Alps. It has its roots in the 14th century and takes place at the “Hoher Hundstein” in Pinzgau (Salzburg).


"Lichtbratl"-Monday in Bad Ischl

Applicant: Hannes Heide, Bürgermeister der Stadtgemeinde Bad Ischl
Province: Upper Austria

Every year on the Monday after Michaelmas (29 September), the “Lichtbratlmontag” (“Monday of the lighting roast”) is celebrated in Bad Ischl. It derives from an old custom, where the master used to treat his workers to a roast, as artificial lighting had to be used again from that day onwards. Today, this “Lichtbratlmontag” is a festive gathering for all jubilarians from the age of 50 upwards with milestone birthdays, who were either born or reside in Bad Ischl.


Applicant: Trachtenverein „Traunseer“ Gmunden, Obmann Franz Wolfsgruber
Province: Upper Austria


"Mullen" and "Matschgern" in the MARTHA villages

Applicant: Martin Kapferer i.V. Gemeinschaft der Muller und Matschgerer der Stadtteile Mühlau und Arzl bzw. der Dörfer Rum, Thaur und Absam
Province: Tyrol

“Mullen” and “Matschgern” (derives from “mask”/ “to mask”) is a century-old tradition, which is carried out on the night of Shrove Tuesday in the MARTHA villages north of Innsbruck. Each figure has a role allocated, the witches being precursors, other figures like the mirror-“tuxer” simply impressing with their imposing appearance, while others act as constables. The climax of the hustle and bustle is the so-called “Mullen” or “Abmullen”, a form of testimony of honour, where the bearer of the custom chooses a person from the audience to rub his shoulders and give him a little smack on the back.


Carnival run of Murau

Applicant: Mag. Alfred Baltzer und Ing. Rudolf Paschek, i.V. Arbeitskreis Volkskultur Murau
Province: Styria

This exhausting and elaborate procession and “Heische” tradition (a custom of asking for alms) takes place in regular intervals of two to five years on a certain day of the year - typically on Carnival Monday - in several villages in the district of Murau. The equipment of the carnival runners commemorates the former clothing of threshers, while the appearance and the number of carnival runners as well as their accompanying figures show slight regional differences. The participating groups and figures move either by vehicle or by foot from yard to yard and have to overcome obstacles before being allowed to enter. These typically comprise either overcoming a tightened chain (Speng) or accepting a challenge for a duel.


Wine guardian procession in Perchtoldsdorf

Applicant: Christian Neumayer i.V. für die Weinhüter; Franz Distl i.V. für den Weinbauverein der Marktgemeinde Perchtoldsdorf
Province: Lower Austria

The wine guardian procession has remained a constant element of the Perchtoldsdorfer wine growers’ annual traditions, even though the profession of guardian became obsolete and died out in the 1970s.


Guards of the Sacrament in Tyrol

Applicant: Karl Wurzer
Province: Tyrol

The Guards of the Sacrament in Tyrol were founded about 500 years ago based on the Spanish model of the Corpus Christi Confraternities. Their original duty of guarding and honouring the Eucharist at processions still stands. Over the course of their history, Guards of the Sacrament in Tyrol were dissolved several times, yet their tradition was successfully upheld in the villages in Thaur, Hall, Volders and Schwaz. Only at selected ecclesiastical and secular occasions the four Sacramental Guards appear together, dressed in their historical attire and arms. The guards also accompany private ceremonies, such as weddings or funerals, and take on social and cultural duties within their communities.


Shooting clubs in Salzburg

Applicant: Herbert Handlechner i.V. Landesverband der Salzburger Schützen
Province: Salzburg

Shooting clubs are an important component of Salzburg traditions. Even though the actual shooting equipment used differs from place to place (it ranges from traditional wooden weapons to different types of canons or fireworks (“Prangerstutzen”)), club activities are quite constant across different communities.


"Samsontragen" in Lungau and Murau

Applicant: Gauverband der Lungauer Heimat- und Brauchtumsvereinigungen, Gauobmann Eduard Fuchsberger
Province: Salzburg, Styria

In Austria, the tradition of “Samsontragen“ can only be found in Lungau (Salzburg) and in two communities in the adjacent federal province of Styria. These regions, however, consider this tradition, which attracts innumerable guests every year, to be a firm part of their annual rites.


Silent Night - the Christmas carol

Applicant: MMag. Michael Neureiter i.V. Stille-Nacht-Gesellschaft
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

The song “Silent Night! Holy Night!” was composed in 1818 and has since become a focal point in peoples’ Christmas celebrations, both in the trusted circle of family and friends as well as ecclesiastic festivities, particularly the Christmas Mass. For many, “Silent Night” is the mother of all Christmas carols.


"Schleicherlaufen" in Telfs

Applicant: Fasnachtkomitee Telfs, Obmann Dr. Stephan Opperer
Province: Tyrol

Approximately 500 men participate actively in the “Telfer Schleicherlaufen“ tradition (an event with costumes and dance that centers around Shrove Tuesday); a number of chronicles report that many families have participated in this tradition for generations. The participants (all male) come together every five years to form new groups. Many people in Telf (Tyrol) are in close contact with each other during the preparations for Shrove Tuesday due to creating costumes and piecing together jewelry.


Association for mutual assistance in fire emergencies (“ancillary service”)

Applicant: Verein für gegenseitige Hilfeleistung bei Brandfällen ,Nebenleistung', Obmann Johann Wimmer
Province: Lower Austria

This association is the self-help organization of the community of St. Oswald in the Yspertal (Lower Austria). This association supports the region’s inhabitants either financially or by other means after fire emergencies. In short, the organization is an “ancillary service“.


Tamsweg Union

Applicant: Die Vereinigten zu Tamsweg, Kommissär Dr. Raimund Schiefer
Province: Salzburg

The Tamsweg Union was founded in 1738 by craftsmen from Lungau and has been maintained by workers ever since, thereby making it the oldest existing union in the area around the market town of Tamsweg (Salzburg). Members attend funerals, accompany church processions and hold the “Vereinigtenoktav”, a week-long festival celebrated every year between January 1 and the first Saturday after Ash Wednesday. In addition to members of the Tamsweg Union, members of confraternities from other federal states attend these festivities.


Viennese Coffee House Culture

Applicant: Klub der Wiener Kaffeehausbesitzer, Klubobmann KommR Maximilian K. Platzer
Province: Vienna

The tradition of the Viennese Coffee House Culture goes back to the end of the 17th century and is given distinction to by a very specific atmosphere. Typical for Viennese Coffee Houses are marble tables, on which the coffee is served, Thonet chairs, boxes (loges), newspaper tables and interior design details in the style of Historicism. Guests can choose from the selection of meals and drinks from early morning at 6am until midnight, while sometimes also enjoying readings and musical soirées. The coffee houses are a place “where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”


"Niglo"-procession of Windischgarsten

Applicant: Jörg Strohmann i.V. Obmann des Heimat- und Museumsvereins Windischgarsten, beauftragtes Mitglied des Trachtenvereins d’Garstnertaler
Province: Upper Austria

The „Niglo“-procession on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day (6 December) is a regular annual occurrence during Advent. About 30 persons participate, amongst them the night guard, the “Niglo” husband (a man in urban clothing) and the “Niglo” wife (a young woman in a white dress and a crown), several “Nigeln” (Krampuses with nymphs dressed up in fur, with clamps and rods hanging from their bodies), some angels, the devil, St. Nicholas and several supporting characters.


Firecracker-shooters of Wirling

Applicant: Matthias Plamberger i.V. Verein Traditionsschützen Wirling
Province: Upper Austria

The traditional shooting club of Wirling is probably the only one in Austria which is authorised to carry out the consuetudinary firecracker shooting. The main purpose of the shooters is to participate in religious and secular celebrations, such as weddings, ecclesiastic festivities, processions as well as the shooting on the Twelve Nights after Christmas. The specially-constructed firecracker cannon is placed on higher grounds and, depending on the occasion, fired at exactly the appointed time. Before shooting the next firecracker, it is important to wait until the end of the echo produced by the bang, as this may last up to twelve seconds.


Practices concerning nature

Three-step-agriculture in the Bregenz Forest

Applicant: Michael Moosbrugger i.V. Verein zur Förderung der Bregenzerwälder Käsekultur
Province: Vorarlberg

Due to the fact that the amount of non-silo fodder from the in-house production of the farm yards in the Bregenz Forest does not suffice for the livestock all year-round, the local farmers apply a well-tried agricultural practice called the “three-step-agriculture”. As part of this seasonal cycle of the three-step-agriculture, (part of) the family drives the livestock from the farmyard, first to the “Vorsäß” (a low mountain pasture) in late spring and then to the alp at the beginning of July.


Falconry

Applicant: HR Dr. Harald Barsch, Österreichischer Falknerbund und Zentralstelle Österreichischer Falknervereine (ZÖF)
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

Falconry is the art of hunting with birds. In a strict sense, the term “falconry” is understood as hunting with specially trained falcons. However, hawks, sparrow hawks and eagles have also been introduced to the discipline. Falconry also allows for the breeding of birds of prey.


Healing knowledge of Pinzgauer men and women

Applicant: TEH Verein, Obfrau Theresia Harrer, GF Mag. Karin Buchart
Province: Salzburg

The accumulated knowledge of cures and their practical application in Pinzgau (Salzburg) was first documented in writing in the course of a 2005 survey. A specific list holds details of the indications and effects of 106 different cures. Remedies such as pitch, arnica or amber are available locally and constitute an important element of the region’s cultural context. The healing knowledge of Pinzgauer men and women has traditionally been handed down as oral know-how and comprises a variety of cures, indications, effects and active ingredients, which are passed on according to the “master-pupil principle”. For a recipe to be passed down, its effectiveness must have proven successful over centuries.


Bird catching in Salzkammergut

Applicant: Salzkammergutverband der Vogelfreunde, Obmann Alfred Riezinger
Province: Upper Austria

The tradition of catching birds in Salzkammergut involves the capture of individual local woodland birds in autumn, and the woodland bird exhibition on the last Sunday before “Kathrein” (a religious holiday on November 25). This show features birds that stand out because of their colour, physical integrity and their flawless condition. It also provides information on their keeping in aviaries after the bird catching season. The birds are fed with local food that is collected throughout the year. Apart from decoys, all birds are set free again in springtime.


Transhumance – the driving of sheep in the Oetztal Alps

Applicant: Kulturverein Schnals; Verein Pro Vita Alpina Österreich
Province: Tyrol

The transhumance in the Oetztal Alps is a special form of sheep driving hikes. These hikes go over the peaks of Timmelsjoch (2494m), the Hochjoch (2885m) and the Niederjoch (3017m) and are the only cross-border transhumance in the Alps that leads across glaciers. They not only cross climatic but also national borders. Every year in early summer, around 5,000 to 5,500 sheep from South Tyrol are led to the Oetztal pastures and back again in autumn.


The knowledge of hazel spruce as tone wood

Applicant: Kassian Erhart, Verein Forum Haselfichte
Province: Tyrol

Due to its genetically-encoded hazel growth, the hazel spruce (“Haselfichte”) can mostly be found in the forests of the Alps at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. Only very few experts are able to identify this quality of wood on an upright tree. The hazel spruce is clearly identifiable by removing a small piece of bark from the part of the tree where small, longitudinal furrows run down its trunk. The hazel spruce has always been used for the construction of instruments, as its specific characteristics satisfy the high demands in wood quality.


Knowledge about the locations, picking and processing the Spotted Gentian

Applicant: Gemeinde Galtür, Bürgermeister LR Anton Mattle
Province: Tyrol

The knowledge of where to find and how to pick and pr ocess the Spotted Gentian (gentian punctata) has been passed on for centuries among the people of Galtür in Tirol. Most of the time, the entire local population is involved in the process of digging up and picking the valuable root as well as its further processing into Gentian schnapps. Until today, lots are drawn at the annual parish fair to decide which families will take part in the extraction of the roots and the making of the schnapps. Since the 17th century , local regulations for root collection as well as general nature conservation rules have sustainably safeguarded the survival of this rare type of Gentian.


Applicant: Verein ARCHE NOAH
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna


Traditional Craftsmanship

Pharmaceutical specialities

Applicant: Kurapotheke Bad Ischl, Mag. Manfred Heimo Hrovat
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

Pharmaceutical specialties have been part of local traditions for a long time and include knowledge on nature, cures and healing that had formerly been passed down orally, and have since been documented in recipe books. The making of these products requires certain special instruments, pharmaceutical resources and skills. Austrian pharmacists consider this transferred knowledge as part of their cultural heritage.


Bodensee’s headdress in Lamé lace

Applicant: Michael Selb, Trachtengruppe Feldkirch
Province: Vorarlberg

The “Bodensee-Radhaube”, a wheel-shaped bonnet, is unique due to its ornaments, which are made of gold and silver thread of equal quality on either side. The bonnet is typically worn in combination with traditional (Austrian) dress (“Tracht”) on festive occasions such as dance performances or festivals.


Blue printing in Burgenland

Applicant: Joseph Koó
Province: Burgenland

Indigo blue printing in Burgenland involves the dyeing of fabric with the help of a special type of printing technique called “Reservedrucktechnik”. Traditionally, wood patterns and paste are used to apply the requested design onto the fabric, which is subsequently dyed indigo. It is said that textile printing was probably discovered by chance and can now be traced back for centuries in countries such as Hungary, Turkey, the Czech Republic or Egypt.


Applicant: Andreas Rußmann
Province: Upper Austria


Gunsmiths of Ferlach

Applicant: Kulturring Ferlach, Dipl. Ing. Rainer Adamik
Province: Carinthia

The gunsmith crafts of Ferlach (Carinthia) are based on specialist work. The shaper works on the wood of the gun shaft and the engraver on the surface of the metal parts, while the gunsmith himself assembles the different parts, depending on the use of the object. When orders from the general public decreased during the 19th century, the gunsmiths started to mainly focus on the production of hunting weapons.


Reverse glass painting in Sandl

Applicant: Norbert Pölz, Johann Pum, Elisabeth Traxl, Elsa Stelzmüller
Province: Upper Austria

With the migration of Northern Bohemian glassmakers, the craft of reverse glass painting arrived in the district Mühlviertel ar ound 1760. It is a r egion that is along with the Southern part of Bohemia and the Waldviertel district in neighbouring Lower Austria, still renowned for its fine glass pr oducts. Reverse glass paintings wer e handcrafted at glass kilns and homes around Sandl in order to be sold at fairs and shrines, transported in back-baskets by carriers across the countries of the Habsburg Monarchy. The paintings typically use few but bright colours and carry the decorative Sandl Rose in the corners. With cheap art prints spreading and small-scale glassworks closing down, the art of reverse glass painting was almost forgotten after 1940. Yet today, one full-time and a number of part-time painters can be found upholding the tradition in Sandl.


Bobbin Lace-Making in Salzburg

Applicant: Christian Vötter - Verein TAURISKA & Monika Thonhauser
Province: Salzburg

Lace-making dates back to the Renaissance. Lace was used not only to protect fabric edges from fraying, but also for decorative purposes. Brisk demand turned lace-making in Salzburg into an industry of trans-regional importance which developed a style entirely of its own. At the height of its popularity between 1600 and 1800, bobbin lace was an important source of income for many families. Following near-oblivion, the craft was rediscovered in the mid-20th century and has since been taught and handed down in special courses.


Charcoal burning

Applicant: Peter Wieser, Vorstandsmitglied im Europäischen Köhlerverein und Sprecher der österreichischen Köhler
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna

Charcoal burning ("Köhlerei") is a traditional craftsmanship derived from rural life, which primarily serves the manufacturing of wood charcoal. Hermetically sealed wood is heated up by way of dry distillation and carbonised across a period of several weeks, turning it thereby into preferably pure carbon.


Basket Making - weaving with willow, straw and wood split

Applicant: Stainzer Korbflechter und Besenbinder aus dem Blaurackenverei LEiV, Kulturverein Gniebing/Weißenbach, Korbflechter aus Fruttendorf-Gießelsdorf
Province: Styria

Basket-weaving from materials found in nature has been an important part of everyday life for thousands of years. The baskets, woven and sewn from willow, straw and split wood, were used for carrying and holding. In many parts of Austria, basket weaving used to be an important home industry. An extensive knowledge and large range of weaving techniques have been preserved in the region of South-Eastern Styria. After collecting and drying their materials throughout the year, weavers and interested novices meet there in order to exchange their know-how and pass on traditional craft techniques as well as their knowledge of the materials.


Bread making in the Lesach Valley

Applicant: Lesachtaler Mühlenverein und Kulturvereine Liesing, Mario Lugger und Hans Guggenberger
Province: Carinthia

The tradition of bread making in the Lesach Valley (Carinthia), especially in the communities of Maria Luggau and Liesing, includes grain cultivation and extraction (in a specific mountain farming region), the most important facts on mill construction, particular idioms and sayings, rituals (e.g. to draw three crosses before cutting bread, to place a palm cross in the field), the annual mill festival in Maria Luggau and the local village and bread festival.


Stove and fireplace masonry in Burgenland

Applicant: Dr. Susanna Steiger-Moser i.V. Museum für Baukultur Neutal
Province: Burgenland

The villages Neutal, Ritzing and Sigless (Burgenland) have a strong tradition of stove and fireplace craftwork. Even in families without direct links to this sector, the identification with these handicrafts is very strong.


Forging of scythes

Applicant: Sensenverein Österreich - Herr Hansjörg Rinner
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna


Resin extraction in Lower Austria

Applicant: Ernst Schagl i.V. Arbeitsgemeinschaft niederösterreichische Pecherstraße
Province: Lower Austria

The craftsmanship of “Pecherei“ has been practised for many centuries as a way of extracting resin from pine trees. Here, the bole is injured on a superficial level as a way of activating the resinosis. The obtained resin, the so-called tar (“pech”), is processed in refineries and boiling-houses where it is turned into turpentine oil and colophony. These intermediate products used to form the basis of the industrial fabrication of paper, lacquer, paint, soap and many other products.


Production of Pitch Oil in the Eastern Mühlviertel

Applicant: Dorfgemeinschaft Elz, Obmann Hermann Sandner
Province: Upper Austria

In the Eastern part of the Mühlviertel, pitch oil (liquid resin) is still extrapolated using so-called pitch oil stones. Cut to size ages ago, they are typically granite stones with furrows similar to leaf veins chiseled across their slightly slanted surface. Resinous pinewood is then piled onto the stone, covered with earth and lit. After about two hours pitch oil starts to flow in the furrows. This method of making pitch oil continues to be used by a few families, mostly in order to preserve the traditional knowledge of pitch oil and its uses. Widely used in early folk medicine, pitch oil today is today confined to hou sehold applications.


Forging in Ybbsitz

Applicant: Bgm. Josef Hofmarcher i.V. Marktgemeinde Ybbsitz
Province: Lower Austria

Metal forging has a very long history in Ybbsitz (Lower Austria). Certain forging dynasties, known as the “black dukes” (Schwarze Grafen) due to their skills and their outstanding wealth, have 200 year-old family traditions. The blacksmith shop of the Welser family has been within the family for 15 generations, for example.