Saying goodbye to the old year and inviting in the new, 25 December 2021 to 6 January 2022, the magical time around Christmas and New Year, the time between time – the Rauhnächte.
As used to be the tradition for these nights in some parts of Austria, I also baked Buchteln.

There are many different ideas and customs surrounding the concept of the Rauhnächte. It is interesting and a pleasure to follow these reports, to broaden our knowledge, to find our own.

I came across a ritual last December and I will repeat it in the next few days or nights, the 13 wishes of the Rauhnächte. Probably already somewhat adapted by me.



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The myth of the Rauhnächte

It is difficult to determine the exact origin of the Rough Nights. It probably goes back to the Germanic lunar calendar, which numbered a year with twelve lunar months and 354 days. The eleven days – or twelve nights – missing from today’s solar calendar were considered days out of time. „A fixed calendar with a change of year was only introduced late in the early modern era with the Gregorian calendar,“ says folklorist Hänel. „Before that, there were regionally different dates of the beginning of the year.“

One important reason was probably that the Christmas season had always been a time off work. „People came together, celebrated and told each other stories,“ explains Hänel. „Also stories of eerie encounters in the darkness.“ For example, people believed that many spirits were on the move during the Rauhnächte.

The Percht, as the goddess of the Rauhnächte, was believed to have a special significance. According to popular belief, she was supposed to watch over the fact that people should not work and should come to rest. In the Alps in particular, it was customary to depict these figures, who were fighting the darkness, with masks and bells.