“Rauhnächte” are holy nights,
in which the doors to the Otherworld are wide open. They take place in the time of Christmas and the New Year. The word “Rauhnacht” derives from the Middle High German “rûch” which means hairy or wild.
For the first time, the Rauhnächte have be mentioned in documents in the 16th century. After the Christmas days starts the time of the Rauhnächte. Special things are to happen on these days, as the bond of the worldly world to the otherworld is much stronger than usual. The 12 sacred nights of darkness symbolize the return of the souls and the appearance of the spirits.
In most regions, the 12 holy nights begin at 0:00 on the 25th of December and end at 6:00 pm on the 6th of January, Epiphany.
This custom is widespread in Lower Bavaria and Austria, but it is a very special spectacle in the Waldkirchen Rauhnacht and also the Rauhnächte in Hauzenberg are an experience as the photos show.
Perchtentanz with the “Passauer Höllengeister” and the “Thalberger Heandltrommler” 27th of December 2018
The “Perchten” announce the turnaround from the old to the new year. They drive away the spirits of darkness and awaken the spirits of light and growth.