in Salzburg's Lungau
The smell of 50,000 flowers
Every year on 24 June (the high feast marking the birth of John the Baptist), the Nature Park Community of Zederhaus celebrates, while on 29 June (Feast of Peter & Paul), it is the turn of the National Park Community of Muhr to mark the feast day of its own patron saint.
The highlight of this so-called "Solstice Day" is a church service, followed by a procession of the Prangstangen through town, stopping at four stations of the Gospel. The colorfully garlanded poles are carried along throughout the procession. These wooden poles are actually 6 to 8 meters high and weigh as much as 80 kg, and they are woven in garlands of fresh alpine and meadow flowers. The various flowers, including daisies, gentian, peonies, lady's mantle, forget-me-not, poppies and many more, are woven into wreaths and then wrapped around the wooden poles to create all kinds of different color patterns. A single Prangstange requires as many as 50,000 fresh flowers and around 300 hours of work.
The honor of carrying these heavy poles is reserved exclusively for unmarried men from the village.
Afterwards, the flower-covered poles remain on display in the church until 15 August, Assumption Day. On this day they are blessed and carried home to be made into incense, which is then used to bless the houses and farms on special days including Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, as well as on the evening before Epiphany.
This centuries-old tradition has its roots, according to common belief, in a plague of locusts that destroyed vegetation in the region, except for daisies. In their moment of need, area farmers pledged to the Almighty that they would create such floral poles every year, in order to thus be spared from similar natural catastrophes in future.
Annual program in the Nature Park Community of Zederhaus
- 21 to 23 June
Binding of the wreaths and wrapping around the Prangstangen at historic Maurerhaus farm and other farms in the area.
- 23 June
ca. 6 pm The Prangstangen are brought to the parish church accompanied by the town band.
- 24 June
8:30 am Worship service followed, at 9 am, by the Prangstangen procession (lasting until around 12 noon)
- 15 August
ca. 9:30 Blessing of the flowers
Annual program in the National Park Community of Muhr
- 28 June
7:30 pm The Prangstangen are brought to the parish church accompanied by the town band.
- 29 June
9 am "Prangtag" with worship service followed by Prangstangen procession and, at around 2 pm, the Samson parade.