Run from your demons! Folkloric figures banish evil spirits in Vienna

Around 4,000 people watched some 100 demon-like folkloric figures with bells and whips take part in the 'Run of the Perchten' ('Perchtenlauf') in Vienna, on Sunday. People wearing traditional costumes of the Perchten and Krampus spirits gathered in the capital, to join in and chase away evil winter spirits or punish those who have misbehaved. Castle-devil performer Gerhard Mayrhofer said the... Еще roots of the performance lie with an old alpine tradition and explained: «it is done to get rid of the bad winter-ghosts. On the other hand, it is also done to spread luck and fertility.» Traditionally both the Krampus and the Perchten wear wooden masks and furs. However Perchten tend to carry a bell which they use to scare away spirits and are thus considered to bring good fortune to a house. Krampus on the other hand are evil themselves and punish people who have acted badly, with rods or whips. The Krampus and Perchten folklore dates back to pagan times and is still exercised all over Austria and parts of southern Germany. In recent years the “Run of the Perchten” has been criticised, as it at times escalates into violence; and especially women, who have only come to watch, have been attacked.

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