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Bad Ischl Regional Customs

The Holy Night

Das Krippenspiel in Bad Ischl

It may be presumptuous to write about the Holy Night in the second week of January. But the whole of December was completely different than planned and so I could only be there at the penultimate performance of the Ischler Volksspiel.

Instead of four weeks on the Big Island in Hawaii – as promisingly focused all year round – the convalescence in Bad Ischl was five days before departure. And just like ten years ago, when I had to swap the Christmas Bali experiences for a stay in Bad Aussee due to a small mosquito bite on the occasion of a very long business trip, this gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in old customs events. From Bad Aussee, the Barbaramesse in the salt mine is still as present as if it were yesterday.

This time it will be the crib play of the Ischler Volksspielgruppe in the church, the oldest religious folk game in Upper Austria, which was created sometime between 1590 and 1630 and whose roots go back to the 11th century.

When game manager Martin Neureiter initially invited me to enjoy an eventful evening, I was still distracted from the technology desk, which was positioned directly in front of our seats. And I was also slow to follow the prophets. But as soon as the shepherds and shepherd boys entered the scene, I was done. I felt like I was back in the “Holy Night”. Numerous gospels in front of a family Christmas tree gleamed through my head at high speed. The technical desk was swept away.

We let Joseph and Maria, the child, peasants, peasants, sheep, Romans, shepherds and shepherdesses, the three wise men, Herod … take us away. Even my sister-in-law, who is not fluent in the Salzkammergut dialect with her Canadian-Chinese descent, was deeply happy.

When we sang Silent Night at the end, we had tears in our eyes. We would like to thank all committed amateur actors and courageous employees in the background for this moving treasure.

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