Traditions, Customs and Rituals of the Resia Pass Holiday Area
Ancient customs and traditions are still taken very seriously in the Val Venosta and in the Resia Pass where certain ancient rituals have survived for centuries. Many archaic pagan customs which were later Christianized continue to exist in Venosta Valley, for instance the Scheibenschlagen (Launching of Burning Disks) in Venosta Valley. Whoever happens to be present at one of these evening celebrations on the mystical Tarces hill on the first Sunday of Lent in February will experience an unforgettable poetic atmosphere.
In the village of Prato/Prat, winter is cast away during the crazy Zusslrennen (Zussl Race). On the 5th December, everyone young and old takes part in the annual St. Nicholas parade. These parades, together with the arrival of the Krampus, wearing scary masks are accompanied by typical rowdiness.
A similar level of boisterousness accompanies the communal gatherings in February, when winter is symbolically banished. Children and adults – though traditionally only young men – hold whips in their hands, on which are placed round or square wooden disks. These disks are placed inside a bonfire until they glow bright red, and are then thrown into the valley using a special technique and accompanied by the pronouncement of ritual spells and the dedication of good wishes, mostly to one’s beloved. The farther a disk flies through the dark, the more luck it is said to bring to the beloved.