Before the contemplative Advent season in December, fascinating archaic customs, noisy rituals and processions take place in many parts of the Alps – like a storm before the calm, it shortens the waiting time, especially for children, til Christmas Eve.
In Venosta Valley, the tradition of the Wild Men
has been preserved in its original form and is popular with guests and locals alike. On December 5th in Silandro
, the traditional Santa Claus and Krampus (devils) procession
take place annually. Wild figures and black-clad messengers appear out of the darkness, the Krampus, tramp through the streets ahead of Santa Claus and make a hellish spectacle. The Krampus wear costumes made of sheepskin or sewn together goatskin and wooden masks.
The 5th of December has always been the day on which the Schellen Race
takes place. For several hours, children draped with goat herding bells (Schellen), stroll along a set route through the village. On their way through the village, the children are tossed nuts, mandarin oranges and candies by onlookers.