Heritage & tradition in Lungau

Experience the Salzburg Lunga with his special tradition and national culture. The region offers many interesting customs (for example Samsontragen, Prangstangen) and worth seeing (castles, churches as well as museums, exhibitions,…). Inspire yourselves from the great experiences in the Lungau and dive into his history.

The Giant Samson

Emblem of Lungau


Gigantic heroic figures of the 16th century

The Samson figure has been historically documented in the Lungau since 1635 and symbolizes an Old Testament figure with superhuman strength, a strength seated in this long hair. He represents the battle against the Philistines, having killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass at Lehi. Most of the Samson figures carry such a jawbone as a symbol of strength. Many myths, legends and assumptions are interwoven with this giant figure from Salzburg’s Lungau.

 

Samson is as much as 6.5 m tall and weighs around 85 kg. In the inner Alpine region, there are twelve of these figures, with ten Samsons in the Lungau (Mariapfarr, Mauterndorf, Muhr, Ramingstein, St. Andrä, St. Margarethen, St. Michael, Tamsweg, Unternberg and Wölting) and two in neighboring Styria (Krakaudorf und Murau).

 

This heroic biblical figure is the emblem of the Lungau. Which explains why he is so often on display at a variety of local festivities. He is born on the shoulders of a young bachelor, who is able to skillfully balance the weight of this giant figure by means of a frame built on the inside of the hollow body. Already 2010 the Samsontragen” (carrying of the Samson figure) was entered into the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.

Prangstangen

in Salzburg’s Lungau


The smell of 50,000 flowers

Every year on 24 June (the high feast marking the birth of John the Baptist), the Nature Park Community of Zederhaus celebrates, while on 29 June (Feast of Peter & Paul), it is the turn of the National Park Community of Muhr to mark the feast day of its own patron saint.
The highlight of this so-called “Solstice Day” is a church service, followed by a procession of the Prangstangen through town, stopping at four stations of the Gospel. The colorfully garlanded poles are carried along throughout the procession. These wooden poles are actually 6 to 8 meters high and weigh as much as 80 kg, and they are woven in garlands of fresh alpine and meadow flowers. The various flowers, including daisies, gentian, peonies, lady’s mantle, forget-me-not, poppies and many more, are woven into wreaths and then wrapped around the wooden poles to create all kinds of different color patterns. A single Prangstange requires as many as 50,000 fresh flowers and around 300 hours of work.
The honor of carrying these heavy poles is reserved exclusively for unmarried men from the village.

Afterwards, the flower-covered poles remain on display in the church until 15 August, Assumption Day. On this day they are blessed and carried home to be made into incense, which is then used to bless the houses and farms on special days including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, as well as on the evening before Epiphany.

This centuries-old tradition has its roots, according to common belief, in a plague of locusts that destroyed vegetation in the region, except for daisies. In their moment of need, area farmers pledged to the Almighty that they would create such floral poles every year, in order to thus be spared from similar natural catastrophes in future.

Water Shoot

in Salzburg’s Lungau


EVEN Walt Disney WAS FASCINATED BY THE “Preber SHOOT”

Just a few minutes from Tamsweg, the beautiful 2,740 meters-high Preber – with picturesque
Prebersee lake – rises up before you.
This legendary lake conceals all kinds of secrets, not least the composition of its water surface, which makes the Preberschießen possible. At this unique shooting event, competitors don’t shoot directly at the target, but rather at its reflection in the water. Due to the water’s density, the bullet ricochets off and hits the target which is standing on dry land.

 

The “Preber Shoot” event is held annually on the last weekend in August.

 

Incidentally: Back in 1957, even Walt Disney was interested in this mysterious event and wanted to reconstruct the lake at Disney World. But his efforts were in vain, since no one can replicate the Prebersee in SalzburgerLand, other than Mother Nature herself.