Vom Wald das Beste. – Nationalparkregion Bayerischer Wald


Customs are just as important to the "Waidler" as their beer and the Waidler dialect!

Throughout the year in the Bavarian Forest National Park vacation region, time-honored customs are practiced with great passion as an expression of tradition.
"They must be crazy, the Bavarians!" is what many a holidaymaker thinks when they see how locals voluntarily allow themselves to be doused with water or how young people parade through the streets making a lot of noise at Easter and even receive a little something in return! For the Waidler, however, it is a matter of honor and a matter of course to keep the old customs and traditions alive.

The best of customs.

So that you know exactly what the "wolf" on the doorstep of your accommodation wants on your next vacation, we have put together an annual calendar of customs with brief explanations. You can find the exact dates for the individual traditional events in our calendar of events.

Rough nights

Between 21.12. and 06.01. are the so-called "Rauhnächte", when the spirit realm is open - souls, spirits and demons have access and can set off on a "wild hunt". Divinations and talking animals are also part of the legends and legends of the Rauhnächte, as are special rules for order and prudence.
Tip: 28.12. Rauhnachtstreiben in Bayerisch Eisenstein and 05.01. Koishüttler Lousnacht in Neuschönau

Easter customs

Palm bushes
On the Sunday before Easter, tied palm bushes (instead of palm fronds, "palm catkins" are used) are consecrated in a festive church service and procession, which decorate the corner of the Lord's altar throughout the year and thus protect the house and yard from harm.

Emmaus walk
In memory of the disciples' walk to Emmaus, which Jesus joined unrecognized, walks or short hikes are organized.
Tip: Emmaus walk in Zwiesel

From Maundy Thursday until the night of Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday, "Ratscherbuam/-mädls" go 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 "Ratschen" and recite verses.

Consecrated Easter basket
Easter baskets filled with brightly colored eggs, bread, salt, baked Easter lamb and often smoked meat are consecrated in the church during the Easter Vigil and usually eaten at the subsequent Easter breakfast. The so-called "Antlass or Maundy Thursday eggs" have a special significance. Eggs laid on Maundy Thursday ward off evil and give strength.

An ancient Easter custom that is still enjoyed by young and old alike and is held as a kind of competition. Everyone holds a hard-boiled Easter egg in their hand and tries to break the other person's egg. The important thing is: "point to point - ass to ass". This goes in turn and whose egg is still intact at the end is the winner.


The Three Wise Men go from house to house and proclaim the Good News of the Christmas Gospel. Each house is blessed with "C+M+B" (Christus Mansionem Benedicat = Christ bless this house) and consecrated chalk as well as incense. The carol singers usually receive small donations for good causes and sweets.


Stealing the maypole
As soon as the maypole has been put down, the excitement increases, as the aim is to secretly steal the maypole from the neighboring village, avoid being caught and then guard it until 1 May so that it cannot be "stolen back". A ransom is then negotiated, which usually consists of a snack and beer. If no payment is made, the maypole is erected as a "tree of shame".

Erecting the maypole
The maypole, a symbol of fertility, is erected on the village square on May 1st using only muscle power and a "Schwaiberl". As soon as the maypole is up and anchored, the social part begins.

Church consecration (Kirta)

The consecration of the church building is celebrated. As the celebrations around the patronal feast used to get out of hand, in 1866 the traditional "Dorfkirchweih" was set for the third Sunday in October as the "Allerweltskirta". The church fair used to last from Thursday or Friday to Monday or sometimes even Tuesday, according to the saying "A gscheida Kirta, lasts until Irta (= Tuesday)".
Today, the Kirta is mainly concentrated on Kirchweih Sunday and Kirchweih Monday. Many businesses and authorities maintain the old custom and invite their employees to the "Kirchweihmontagsgans" in the pub.

Carnival (dig in)

The fifth season "carnival" is celebrated in every village in the vacation region. Either carnival balls or carnival parades take place everywhere.
The traditional "Fasching-Eigrobn", however, only takes place occasionally or rarely. Here, people gather in inns and hold a funeral feast after the carnival funeral.
Tip: Schönberg carnival parade

Waterfowl singing

The "water birds" (boys in weatherproof clothing) go from house to house on Whit Sunday and are doused with water from windows and balconies. The "waterfowl" sing verses of praise but also tease the residents of the house and receive a small gift as thanks. When the whole village has sung their praises, the clothes are usually dried in the inn and the gifts distributed.

Expelling wolves

Young people, equipped with cowbells and "Goaßl", march from house to house on the evening before St. Martin's Day (11.11.) making a thunderous noise. This custom dates back to the time of the shepherds to keep predators away from the pasture or farm. In earlier times, people were very superstitious, which is why the custom is said to have the power to ward off demons.

Historical festivals

Panduren festival Spiegelau
In the course of the Austrian War of Succession (1740-1748), pandurenobrist Franzsikus Freiherr von der Trenck terrified the forest farmers and glassmakers of the Bavarian Forest. To learn from history, the Panduren Festival is held in Spiegelau every two years to commemorate the event. More information

Home festival Mauth
A journey into the past takes place every three years in Mauth. Over 200 locals in historical costumes depict the founding of the village and life around 1699. With great passion and attention to detail, the "Waidler" organize one of the oldest traditional festivals in the Bavarian Forest for an entire weekend. More info