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Guide > Austria > Upper Austria > Salzkammergut > Dachstein Salzkammergut > Obertraun


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Glöcklerlauf Parade

Glöcklerlauf in Obertraun with children
5th January - 5pm onwards

Obertraun Upper Austria
Ancient traditions around the magical "Smoke Nights" have long been popular events in the cold winter months. One of the loveliest traditions is the "Gloecklerlauf" which takes place on January 5th, the eve of Epiphany. 20 children and 30 adults take to the dark streets on this cold, snowy winter's night. The purpose of the "Gloecklerlauf" in Obertraun, nestling between the imposing mountains of the Dachstein region, is to drive away evil spirits and to welcome the good spirits who will provide for a prosperous and healthy new year for the local community. The bell-ringers (Gloeckler) wear head decorations which weigh up to 20 kilograms - and even heavier are the bells which some of the participants carry strapped around their waists as they make their way around the village.
Obertraun Upper Austria
In Obertraun it is tradition that only the children make these elaborate decorations worn on the heads of the "Gloeckler". Silke and Bernd Dankelmayr have been organisers for the past 10 years of a group which has existed since 1970. 30 children and 10 adults put in about 500 hours of work to create these elaborate "Gloecklerkappen" or "bell ringers' head decorations", intricately hand made. Each piece of "head wear" is a unique master piece. Figures and shapes are cut or stamped out of strong cardboard and bright coloured tissue paper is stuck on behind. This is all attached to a wooden frame inside which several candles are attached. The bell-ringers are dressed all in white and carry large, heavy bells. The sound of the bells, together with the light from the candles is said to drive evil spirits away.
Obertraun Upper Austria
At 17.00 on January 5th, the "Gloecker" depart from the main square in Obertraun, divided into 2 processions - children and adults. The processions wend their way through the darkened streets of the World Heritage village of Obertraun, accompanied by a local music group - the "Obertrauner Weisenblaeser". The "Gloeckler" are often invited into local inns and private homes and offered a place to rest and receive something to eat and drink.
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