Rauriser Toifi Krampusses in Rauris Valley
It gets loud and a little eerie – when the “Rauriser Toifi” are out and about, roaming from house to house, driving the evil spirits out of Rauris Valley in SalzburgerLand. Together with St. Nicholas, pretty angels and the "Einspeiber", on 5 December they visit all of the kids (those who have been good, as well as those who haven’t been quite as “exemplary”), bringing blessings and wishes of happiness for the New Year.
The Rauriser Toifi (“Toifi” is dialect for “devils”) look really wild and scary. The carved masks are painted red, white and black, with a red cloth tongue hanging out of their mouths. Attached to these traditional wooden masks are the horns of rams or goats. Clad in shaggy coats made of sheepskin, with a rod in their hand and bells tied around their waists, they make their way through the valley.
There are very strict rules governing the appearance of the Rauriser Toifi. This guarantees that the tradition of the Rauriser Toifi remains authentic and original. One unique aspect of the traditional procession is the so-called "Einspeiber", who accompanies Nicholas and the Rauris’ version of Krampus. Einspeibers are dressed in a red cloak and their role is to request admission to homes .
Nicholas brings gifts for the good children, whereas the not-so-good ones, perhaps at the biding of mom and dad, are scared and warned by the Toifin.
The Toifi tradition goes back to gold-mining days. South of Kitzloch Gorge stands a Perchten Cross, which was actually chronicled back in 1576. Close to the cross, Toifin who did not belong to the twelve official Perchten are actually said to have been killed. The number 12 comes from the 12 days of Christmas between 24 December and 6 January. At that time it was still the depths of the Middle Ages – and so it was assumed that the thirteenth or fourteenth Percht, who had joined their procession, was actually a devil incarnate, and so had to be put to death ...