Culture & Traditions in the Murau-Murtal
In the charming old town of Murau, the capital of the Styrian wood industry, you can follow in the steps of history. The higher and smaller the village, the more rustic and vibrant the traditions.
The cattle drive marks the end of the mountain pasture grazing period. A beautiful sight: cattle adorned with colourful garlands and large bells.
It is also worth seeing the giant Samson, who is carried through Murau every year on 15 August accompanied by a loud gun salute from the town guard. Another tradition is the rather mystical custom of smoking out houses and animal pens to keep evil at bay during the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Rauhnächte (Twelve Days of Christmas) “Smoking out” tradition
Smoking out houses and animal pens is still “obligatory” for those who live on mountain farms. This custom, which is carried out during the dark nights of the Twelve Days of Christmas, is said to ward off evil spirits and make sure that the animals and land thrive and flourish. To this day countrywomen do not dry their laundry outside after dusk as they are afraid of attracting ghosts into the house.
Women and children are not meant to be alone on the streets after dark. People are not allowed to play cards.
Depending on the region, the number of nights on which this tradition takes place varies between three and twelve. The four most important days are 21 December, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Epiphany.