Customs and traditions
Gastein "Krampus" celebration
On December 5 each year a "Krampus" run takes place all over Gastein, the main event is in Gastein itself. Fearsome creatures with devil's masks carved from wood and with goats'horns attached go from house to house accompanied by St. Nicholas.
Beneath the disguise are young boys. They are dressed in lamb fleece and have large cowbells round their midriff which cause a hellish racket, audible from afar.
Each set of "Krampus" figures consists of a basket carrier, the "Girzeltroger" or "Guazltrager", who has pastries and nuts in his basket, and a St. Nicholas figure, with an ornate costume. Each set of "Krampus" has its own name, passed on through generations, e.g. the "Hochalm-Paß", the "Stubner-Paß" etc.
The Gastein "Perchtenlauf" has been in existence for centuries, and is one of Salzburg province's oldest traditional customs. Every 4 years the "Perchten" in Badgastein and in Bad Hofgastein are out and about all day and all over the valley on January 1. and 6. from 7 a.m. till late in the evening.
They dance around with their heavy headgear. The witches sweep incessantly, the workmen offer their services, meanwhile the music strikes up .. This is a special occasion for locals and participants alike. Women are not allowed to take part, following the age-old tradition.