Winter in Oberösterreich
Advent & customs

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A glimmering Twelfth Night

The "Glöckler" (bell walkers) in the Salzkammergut region

Twelfth Night is celebrated from the 5 to 6 January. In the Salzkammergut region, it is the domain of the "Glöckler" - men dressed in white who wear elaborate pieces of illuminated headwear crafted over many hours with their own two hands. Imagination has no bounds when it comes to the shape of these Glöckler head pieces: stars in a multitude of variations as well as pyramids or comets with long tails can be spotted.

When darkness falls on 5 January, the "Glöckler" gather in their groups, called "Passen". These fantastical figures go from house to house, heading for the town centre, and are quite a sight to see.

The custom originated in the town of Ebensee by Lake Traun and is on UNESCO's Immaterial Cultural Heritage list. It is preserved all over the Salzkammergut region from Lake Atter to Lake Traun and Bad Ischl, all the way to Bad Goisern and Obertraun.