Kirchtagsmichl: the harvest festival in Val Pusteria
The Kirchtagsmichl, a tradition of the Val Pusteria, is a life-size straw doll, dressed in the traditional costumes of the Val Pusteria, which is hung on a spruce tree in the town square during the festival.
It is a real event that goes back to the rural tradition: remember the tree planting in May and is part of the rituals that were once used to promote fertility. Born probably from Bavaria during the harvest festival, which coincides with the Thanksgiving festival, Kirchtagsmichl literally means "church day"Or" the anniversary of the blessing of the church ".
A few days before the festival, a large spruce tree is felled and prepared to be displayed in the square, cleaned of bark and branches. It will have to represent a sort of greasy tree to which the Kirchtagsmichl will be hung, lo fool, and the symbol of fertility.
Tradition tells that every country in these days of celebration had as its goal that of steal the puppet from the neighboring town. During the night the puppet was then guarded by guardians chosen to protect it from neighbors' jokes. The theft was a sign of great shame for the country that suffered it, therefore the guardian was treated very carefully by fellow citizens and continually received food, drink and grappa during his vigil.
Today it has remained the symbol of the puppet, and few countries still try to attempt the theft. The festival is mostly remembered in all the countries with festivals, where it is possible to find delicacies and gastronomic specialties of the South Tyrolean area, and music of musical bands, not to be missed. It is definitely worth a visit and, as soon as you are there, a nice hunt for the last remaining guardians!
After the three days of festivities the Kirchtagsmichl is freed, and put up for auction to raise funds for charitable purposes.