Giant heroic figures from the 16th century
The Samson has been documented since 1635 and symbolizes an Old Testament figure with superhuman powers - lying in his long hair. He depicts the fight of the Jews against the Philistines, after which he killed 1000 Philistines with a donkey's jawbone at Lehi. Most of the figures carry such a jawbone with them as a symbol of strength.
Many myths, legends and suppositions have grown up around this giant figure from the Salzburg's Lungau region. Already in 2010, the Samson Wearing was entered into the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.
There are twelve of these Samson figures in the inner-Alpine region, ten of them in the Salzburg Lungau (Mariapfarr, Mauterndorf, Muhr, Ramingstein, St. Andrä, St. Margarethen, St. Michael, Tamsweg, Unternberg and Wölting) and two in neighboring Styria (Krakaudorf and Murau).
In the inner alpine region there are twelve of these Samson figures, ten Samsone are in the Salzburg Lungau.
Today, the Samson parades take place on several dates during the Lungauer Almsommer and the Bauernherbst period from June to September. These Samson Processions are unique in their kind in all of Austria.
On these special occasions, the Samson (carried by a strong Lungau man) dances the Samson waltz, usually accompanied by his two dwarves and a band: this dance is an energy-sapping challenge for its wearer; these giant figures are up to 6.5 meters high and weigh around 100 kilograms.