The Sarntal Valley extends from north of Bolzano to a length of 50 km up to Passo Pennes, surrounded by beautiful mountains and set in an untouched nature. The main village is Sarntal, which includes as many as 27 villages and is the largest town in South Tyrol by extension. The valley and the community retain largely their original character, featuring a footprint peasant. Today, however, the Sarntal Valley offers not only agriculture, sweaters and traditional slippers, woodworking, mountain pine and embroidery on leather made with rachis of peacock feathers, trying to combine modernity and integration with a sense of tradition and roots.
Fortunately, they still feel very ancient folk customs, which include the Alpine Advent. During every weekend of Advent Sarntal turns into a romantic Christmas village: this year in the country we’ll find the largets advent wreath throughout the Alps, 2 meters high and with a diameter of over 10 meters.
In a valley, where the dialect and customs of the past are still alive, the customs of the ancestors are kept alive day to day. The days of celebration live on tradition, and everything is carried out with the utmost care. But also not a religious festivals like the “Sarner Kirchtag” (festival of the country) have a secular tradition, not to mention the ancient custom of “Klöckeln”.
Klöckeln a tradition still alive in the Sarntal Valley
But the practice is most particularly the Klöckeln (name that comes from the klocken = knocking), originally an ancient fertility rite Germanic. The group Klöckler, called Kutt, meets secretly in a garage for the preparations. As in the past, even today this ritual is reserved for children and is never organized officially, only the people involved are aware. In three Thursdays before Christmas the Klöckler go from farm to farm to sing their songs from the ancient melodies.
With rudimentary tools such as cowbells, horns mutton and “violin of the devil” the Klöckler announce themselves by producing a loud noise. The two main figures of the group, The Zusslmandl and Zusslweibele (male and female), are held aside and run in a circle, with the male figure who chases the female figure.
The arrival of Klöckler is welcomed by farmers, who offer the Zusslmandl Zusslweibele and food and drink. The male figure wearing the traditional costume of the Sarntal Valley carries a wooden sword red divided into two. He uses to beat the clock on the hand as he chases the female and she sings the song of thanksgiving. The Zusslweibele instead wears the female costume of minor parties tied at the waist with a belt of bells that make noise with every movement. He wears a mask with white cotton stuck behind a straw braid, and wearing a traditional hat male.
The two characters, who are still able to hold up well alcohol, symbolize the struggle between the dark demons of winter and the bright spirits of spring.
Before the final song of thanksgiving Klöckler start to make a lot of noise to force people to leave their homes. The two main characters must fall within the group, standing inside the circle and moving rhythmically. Before the final song can not however miss a dance. At this point the Klöckler receive an offer, which previously consisted of salami, bacon and other delicacies, while today a lof the offers received are money.
The tradition of Klöckeln is closely related to the Germanic mythology, since groups Klöckler would have the task of defeating terrifying costumes, loud noise, shouts and spells the evil demons of the long northern winter.
The people of the Sarntal are proud to keep alive this ancient folk tradition. Each child here is proud to be able to sing the song without mistakes. According to an old local saying, the more are the Klöckler who trample the winter sowing, more lush grow wheat in the coming year.
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