Quirky Customs – Spirits Chase: The Glöckler Run | Glöcklerlauf Challenge


You won’t find this in any store… It’s not just fun and games. I’m wearing it to train for the “Glöcklerlauf”
march in a small town in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. A tradition in which ringing bells and colourful
caps supposedly scare away evil winter spirits… „I’m in snowy Austria in this winter wonderland
here, where they have a wonderful und weird tradition of the Glöcklerlauf, where they
chase away ghosts with these magnificent hats. I want to take part and they all told me I
wouldn’t manage, that I couldn’t even make it for ten meters. So let’s find out more!” There are “Glöckler” marches in the entire
Salzkammergut region, but the most famous and spectacular one occurs here in Ebensee. Since 2010, it’s part of UNESCO’s Intangible
Cultural Heritage list. “We’re now with the Rindbacher Boys and
they’re quite traditional. So I wonder if they let me join in.” 00:59 steht frei Hello lads. Greetings. The Rindbacher Glöckler group has been around
since 1902. I’ve heard one of the conditions is being
a ‘proper man’, right? Yes, well today will be difficult because
we have tricky terrain. It has been snowing heavily… …and it will keep coming down. So it won’t be easy today. It will be touch and go for today’s Glöcklerlauf. In particular, we have a problem if too much
rain falls on the caps. Then they could get soaked and soggy. They are varnished, but we’ll have to see. The sleet could ruin the products of hundreds
of hours of manual labour. “So, I want to know more about these Caps
and take a proper close look. So we’ve come to a real Glöckler workshop. And the owner is also called Max, so I‘m
sure we’re gonna have a great time. “ Hello. Max Höllmoser is the head of the “Alt Kohlstatt”
Glöckler group . Here is where the magic happens, in the ‘hallowed
halls of Alt-Kohlstatt.’ The finished caps are stored in a room next
to the workshop. Here, 40 different models are waiting to be
used this evening. They are gigantic. Tim to take a look at the inside… which contains a wooden frame and real candles. So, there’s no danger it will catch fire? The risk is pretty low. Right. But it has happened before? On occasion, yes. How often does that happen? Difficult to say. In the last few years…
…just once. But eight caught fire at once. Eight?!? They put down the caps at an inn and one fell
over and one knocked into the other. They belonged to the fire brigade! The motifs are reminiscent of church windows. Black cardboard forms the frame for colourful
crepe paper. “We’ll give you something to practice.” I’m tasked with cutting out this flower. I’ve given it my best shot but the boss isn’t
too impressed. “With a lot of help – this is as far as
I’ve gotten. I think I’ve got a lot to learn.” A lot of work for a ghost hunt, which has
been going on for 150 years… I can imagine that you could intimidate ghosts
with these colours and the bells, but do all ‘Glöckler’ believe in ghosts? All ‘Glöckler’ believe in ghosts… Otherwise they wouldn’t take part! „So, I wanna go outside and put on a cap
and see if I can scare away some ghosts.” The Alt-Kohlstätter group let me get in a
bit of a test run ahead of tonight’s big event. The big, heavy cap works like a sail in the
wind. “I’ve got a companion now, to help me through
the windy weather…” Even the youngest member of the Höllmoser
family is taking part. In Ebensee they get them involved early on. That leaves me at a disadvantage. But at least I now feel fit for the official
march in the evening. Back to the Rindbacher group. A cap like this can weigh up to 20 kilos. Four meters long and two meters tall. Time to get dressed in white overalls to match
the others. So far, I’m only allowed to help the others
don their caps. They don’t trust me in these wet conditions,
for now. The candles are lit at the starting point. The tension is palpable and my hopes are getting
higher! Because I’m getting to try on the bell-belt. But a cap is still not coming my way. The march is just too important. What does this tradition mean to you? It’s just wonderful, it’s part of us. It’s a bit mystical and, well, it’s just part
of it. Once the candles are lit, the men sing. Back in the day, only married men were allowed
to take part. At least that rule is no longer in my way. A traditional song to lift the spirits for
the cold march ahead. We start with a bang. And the march has begun. With an almighty racket they set off, aiming
to pass as many homes and fields as possible on their way. That’s meant to bring the people and the coming
harvest good fortune. “As You can tell… they are going pretty
fast, which is impressive, because they are carrying twenty kilos on their head.“ After two hours, the Rindbacher group makes
it to the town center, like all other groups from Ebensee. Around 300 locals parade their caps around
before heading off for the next stage of their journey. A spectacle that I’m still missing out on. „Well, can’t be helped…. It looks like I’m not allowed to take part“ The keepers of the custom are determined to
follow the rules. But suddenly, at a short break, I get my chance! It might have something to do with the fact
that the rain and snow have caused irreperable damage to the caps. There’s not much more I can ruin! Is there anything I should watch out for? It’s important you keep it as straight as
possible. So don’t let it tilt backwards. Because we have the wooden frame inside. It can start to burn under certain circumstances. You don’t have to look forward anyway. You only have to see the person in front of
you. You don’t need to do anything else. “Just don’t want to make any mistakes now. Time to try it for real.” It’s the last stage of the night for the Rindbacher
Glöckler. And it’s a real honour that I’m actually allowed
to walk with them. But I quickly realize it was a big mistake
not to wear gloves. After just a few minutes… My fingers are so numb that I can barely hold
on. But giving up is not an option. After all, the others have been doing this
for hours. “Well, a well deserved mulled wine. It was a heavy load to carry and a heavy load
to bear but finally I got to take part in the Glöcklerlauf. It’s time to say cheers to the boys.“ The group share one last song. And who knows, maybe they have scared away
all the ghosts. then this year’s harvest would be saved.

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