Every year on the third Sunday after Pentecost
, the Sacred Heart Fires
are lit on the mountain ridges in South Tyrol. The spectacle is seen across great distances and every year attracts many onlookers.
The tradition of the mountain bonfires
goes back to pre-Christian times. The ancient custom, once the summer solstice bonfires, later the St. John’s bonfires then, in 1796, as Napoleon's army stood at the gates, it was reinterpreted into a Christian Sacred Heart vow. Given the threat of war, the Tyrolean Parliament at the time decided to entrust the country to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus to obtain divine assistance. When, shortly afterwards, the troops of Andreas Hofer surprisingly won against the French and Bavarians in battle, Sacred Heart Sunday
was named a high holiday.