Throughout the year in the Bavarian Forest National Park holiday region, traditional customs are lived with a great deal of heart and soul as an expression of tradition. "They must be crazy, the Bavarians!" is what many a holidaymaker thinks when he sees locals voluntarily letting themselves be poured down with water or young people parading through the streets at Easter with a lot of noise and even receiving a small gift for it! For the Waidler it is however matter of honour and natural the old-transmitted customs and traditions to let live on.
The best of customs.
So that you know on your next holiday exactly what the "wolf" wants on the doorstep of your accommodation, we have put together an annual calendar of customs with brief explanations. You can find the exact dates for the individual customs in our calendar of events.
Between 21.12. and 06.01. are so-called "Rauhnächte", on which the spirit realm is open - souls, spirits and demons have exit and can set out for the "Wild Hunt". Divinations and talking animals are also part of the legends of the Rough Nights, as are special rules for order and prudence. Tip: 28.12. Rauhnachtstreiben in Bayerisch Eisenstein and 05.01. Koishüttler Lousnacht in Neuschönau
Palm bouquets On the Sunday before Easter, bound palm bouquets (instead of palm fronds, "palm catkins" are used) are consecrated in a festive church service including a procession, which decorate the corner of the Lord God's house throughout the year and thus protect the house and yard from harm. Emmaus Walk In memory of the walk of the disciples to Emmaus, whom Jesus joined unrecognised, walks or short hikes are organised. Tip: Emmaus Walk in Zwiesel Good Friday Ratchets From Maundy Thursday to the night of Holy Saturday on Easter Sunday, "Ratscherbuam/-mädls" parade through the villages and call the faithful to church or to prayer, as the church bells are silent during this time. They use so-called "rattles" and speak verses. Consecrated Easter baskets Filled Easter baskets with brightly coloured eggs, bread, salt, baked Easter lamb and often smoked meat are consecrated in the course of the Easter vigil in church and usually eaten at the subsequent Easter breakfast. The so-called "Antlass or Maundy Thursday eggs" have special significance. Eggs which were laid on Maundy Thursday ward off evil and give strength. Oapecka" An ancient Easter custom which young and old still love and which is held like a kind of competition. Each person holds a hard-boiled Easter egg in their hand and tries to break the other person's egg. Important is: "Pointed on pointed - ass on ass". This goes around and whose egg is still intact at the end is considered the winner.
Maypole steal As soon as the Maypole was put down the excitement rises, because here it applies to steal the Maypole of the neighbouring place secretly, not to be caught at the same time and to guard this then up to 01.05. so that this cannot be "stolen back". Afterwards a ransom is negotiated, which usually consists of bread time and beer. If no ransom takes place, this maypole is set up as "shame tree".
May tree set up The May tree, a symbol of the fertility, is set up on 01.05. under certain orders alone with muscle power and Schwaiberl at the village place. As soon as the maypole is up and anchored, the social part begins.
The consecration of the church building is celebrated. Since the festivities used to get out of hand around the patronal festival, the traditional "Dorfkirchweih" was fixed in 1866 to the third Sunday in October as the "Allerweltskirta". The Kirchweih used to last from Thursday or Friday to Monday or sometimes Tuesday, according to the saying "A gscheida Kirta, dauert bis Irta (= Tuesday)". Today the Kirta concentrates predominantly on the Kirchweihsonntag and Kirchweihmontag. Many companies and authorities maintain the old custom and invite the employees to the "Kirchweihmontagsgans" in the pub.
The fifth season "Fasching" is celebrated in every village in the holiday region. Everywhere there are either carnival balls or carnival parades. The traditional "Fasching-Eigrobn", however, only takes place occasionally or rarely. Here one gathers in inns and holds after the carnival funeral a funeral feast. Tip: Carnival parade Schönberg
The "water birds" (boys in weatherproof clothing) go from house to house on Pentecost Sunday and are doused with water from windows and balconies. Referring to the inhabitants of the houses, the "water birds" sing verses of praise but also banter and receive a small gift as a thank you. When the whole village has sung off, the clothes are usually dried in the inn and the gifts are distributed.
Young people, equipped with cowbells and "Goaßl", march from house to house with a thunderous noise on the evening before Martinmas (11.11.). This custom originates from the pastoral times to keep predators away from the pasture or farm by the noise. In earlier times, people were very superstitious, which is why the custom is also said to have the power to ward off demons.
Pandurenfest Spiegelau During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), pandurenobrist Franzsikus Freiherr von der Trenck terrified the forest farmers and glassmakers of the Bavarian Forest. Since it is important to learn from history, the Panduren Festival is held in Spiegelau every two years to commemorate the event. More information
Heimatfest Mauth A journey into the past takes place every three years in Mauth. More than 200 locals dressed in historical costumes portray the founding and life around 1699. With a lot of passion and love for detail, the "Waidler" organize one of the oldest customs festivals in the Bavarian Forest for a whole weekend. More info