Advent tradition in the Sarntal Valley, South Tyrol
The "Klöckeln" is an old Advent custom that used to be widespread throughout the Alpine region. In the Sarntal Valley, this custom can be traced back to the 16th century and has been preserved in a particularly original form to the present day.
The name "Klöckeln" comes from "klocken", which means "to knock" in the Sarner dialect. The three “Klöckel”-nights are the Thursday evenings in Advent before the winter solstice. Groups of hooded men go from house to house with noise, roaring and bugle hooting to ask for gifts. They sing two songs, the “Klöckellied” and the “Danklied”, both based on an old traditional melody. Two men dressed as a married couple, the "Zussler", play a special role in the "Klöckel"-group. The origin of this strange custom is unknown. Some researchers suspect its roots to be in pre-Christian times. They associate it with the fertility beliefs of pagan ancestors. Others point to a Christian origin.