Customs and traditions

Tyrol is regarded not only as a tradition-conscious but also as an innovative Austrian province. In the run up to Christmas in particular the main focus is on customs and tradition.

All over Tyrol old mores and conventions, rites and customs are brought to life again and guests and locals alike are encouraged to join in the celebrations.

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Lienz Christkindlmarkt

The main square of Lienz is transformed into a romantic Christmas Market every year.

Artistically decorated stalls, fairy lights, braziers, the scent of gingerbread, fritters, mulled wine and hot tea - with seasonal music ringing all around: those are the ingredients that make advent in Lienz something very special.

One of the major attractions during this period is the huge Advent calendar on the Liebburg, the Lienz town hall. 24 artists provide the individual showpieces/paintings, one window being opened every day at 18:30.

Advent in Lienz home page

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The Krampus in East Tyrol

St Nikolaus's scary companions.

An old custom dictates that Santa Claus (St Nikolaus) never comes alone when he visits the children on December 6. The figures that accompany him do not, however, seem to fit in with the presence of this holy man. Depending on where they are from they have different names: Krampus, Klaubauf, Knecht Ruprecht, Pelzmärtel, Rauwuckel, Butz, Toifi (Teufel means devil in German) or Rumpelblas. In Old Bavaria they still refer to Ganggerl and they mean the devil. These rather frightening characters are basically bogeymen that date back to the times when people still lived in fear of evil powers.

Krampus time is observed al over East Tyrol at the beginning of December. For those who have never heard fo this custom it is a truly spectacular experience. On the final day, December 6, all the Krampus guilds get together for a joint parade in Lienz. The traditional ringing of the bells signifies that the evil spirits have been driven out.

Read more: The Krampus in East Tyrol