In the second part of the Raunachtsagen, which we at the end of the Raunachte, so on today 6. January bring, there are speaking oxen, the wild hunt flies by the airs and Mrs. Percht moves with the unbaptized deceased children by the countries. Who is better to hide from in the Raunacht and who can you trust?
2. Raunacht: Christmas night
Christmas Eve is the second Raunacht. No hammering and sawing is allowed, so that "the Christkindl does not wake up". That night, the cattle in the barn are said to start talking and predict future events:
Farmer and the farmer’s wife stayed home from matins. The farmer was curious, so he sneaked out into the barn and lay under the feed bar. Then he heard an ox say at midnight: "In summer our farmer will strangle himself eating cabbage." The second ox added: "And we two will pull him to the cemetery!"
Illustration by Bernd Wiedemann. Photo: Allitera Publishing House
Frightened by the prediction, the farmer went into the parlor and told the farmer’s wife. He had to promise her never to eat a spoonful of cabbage again. In the following summer, however, he forgot the promise and choked on the first spoonful of herb. When the two oxen pulled the heavy cart with the coffin on it to the graveyard, they nodded affirmatively to each other.
The days were considered religious holidays, amusements of all kinds should not take place.
The dancing Graucherte
A farmer’s wife held a dance with her young husband in the parlor, although it was Christmas night. Suddenly a tendril of incense floated into the door and a skull appeared from the window. The smoky and the skull also began to dance with each other. More and more skulls and incense danced in the parlor and the young farmer’s wife could not get them out. Only when the Mette was over, they disappeared . The young farmer’s wife is said to have become a strict vegan as a result of the experience.
Full sheaves were placed in the field to tell the birds about the joy of Christmas.
A mild Ga(r)be Photo: Pixabay
3. Raunacht: New Year’s Eve
The third Rauhnacht is the New Year’s Eve. No white linen was to be hung up, because otherwise the wild hunt would take the linen and bring it back as a shroud the next year. The Wild Hunt went screaming, meowing, barking, shooting and roaring through the night. Wild hunters and animals flew through the air. But they were not visible, they expressed themselves only as a cacophony of sounds, noises, a sound event, so to speak. The Wild Hunt symbolizes the conflict between the pre-Christian and Christian religions. While the Wild Hunt cannot deny its Nordic Germanic warlike origins, the Night Folk, which z.B. in Voralberg appears, much more entertaining, festive, musical and, above all, sustainable:
The night people devours a cow.
Into a house on the front ground in the Walsertal came once in a Raunacht the night people. There was no one at home but the "Gogen", that is the children of the farmer, who were there alone "gammten", that is playing. The night people immediately made themselves comfortable, brought in the most beautiful cow from the stable and began to slaughter her and to skin her. Further they made then much business, began to boil and to roast and consumed the prepared beef "under dancing and jumping, singing and rejoicing and under the most pleasant drum and string play."
The night people also gave the children plenty to eat, but forbade them "to gnaw a leg (bone) or even to lose it."But the smallest hid an ankle in his diaper.
When everything was eaten, the ghosts carefully gathered all the bones, but despite all their diligence, they could not find the leg inside the diaper. So they wrapped the rest of them in the cowhide again, said a spell over it, and lo and behold: the animal got up alive, mooed angrily at the treatment meted out to it, and tramped out of the living room back into the stable. When the peasants came home from church, she stood again in her old place, was as usable as before, only that she dragged this foot a bit for a lifetime.
4. Raunacht: Perchtnacht
The fourth Raunacht is the Perchtnacht, the night before Heilig Drei Konig. In this night the woman Percht moves around with the unbaptized deceased children. Why are the children unbaptized? They have strange names like Marzenkalbel, or Zadarwaschel. One explanation is that infant mortality was so high that people waited until children survived their first year of life before baptizing them. It’s a good thing that Frau Percht exists: She cares for these beings and moves with them in the Perchtnacht through the countryside.
Percht drummer. Photo:Pixabay
You put milk with baked rolls on their table in the evening. Percht doughnuts are also popular. During the night, a pleasant smacking and slurping can be heard, and in gratitude for her generosity, the Percht blesses the house for the whole year. The place name "Berchtesgaden" is interpreted as the Gaden (garden) of the Percht. Is she the "kindergarten teacher" of the intermediate realm?
The legends can’t tell us that exactly, because the Frau Percht can also do other things: During the Raunachte it was forbidden to spin flax. If a farmer did not keep this work prohibition opposite the servants, then it could already happen that the woman Percht tore the hair of the head from him to the punishment. He received it back only when he improved over the year.
Quarrel among neighbors
The Percht also acts as a mediator in neighborly disputes, albeit by unusual means:
On the Sonnberge near Brixen lived a farmer who was in dispute with his neighbor. In the Perchtnacht they argued again very violently: There the Percht flew past and tore out both the hair. By this experience they had to talk out their quarrel. The next year the two farmers waited reconciled in the same place for the Percht. She brought back their hair.
The restored hair on the head is said to grow stronger than before and not turn gray even in old age.
Exactly recorded the sequence of the appearance of the Percht south of the Wilder Kaiser:
On the Salvenberg (Hohe Salve) comes the Percht in the twilight hour. On the Naziberg at the midnight hour; in the Windau in the second hour after midnight. In the last hour, the Percht comes to the Spertental valley.
Book assortment. Photo: Karl-Heinz Hummel