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.