Speaking of Christmas traditions, this weekend I went to Öblarn to attend the Nikolospiel (St. Nicholas Play). The play is performed outside (yes, in December!) on the town square. The basic plot: A mountain family is discussing whether devils and saints really do exist. They are visited one winter night by Krampusse and other strange creatures (goats, moss men, straw figures known as the Schab) led by Lucifer. They are wild, noisy and violent. (Dear Santa, this year I want a camera that takes videos with sound)
Then St. Nicholas arrives to send the evils back to the depths where they came from. But not before reading the sins of the family out loud, indicating what must change in the coming year or Lucifer and Co. will be back! You can read more here.
I was especially interested in these straw figures which are about 6-7 feet tall without their horns. With the horns they must be 15 feet tall. They snap their whips in rhythm and it was really an impressive, if short, performance
On Sunday, my friends Ingrid and Theresia took me hiking in St. Nikolai. There were about 10 cm of new fallen snow, and it was really a winter wonderland. We had lunch at a country inn.On Monday, I met Ash and Caitlin for lunch, then had dinner with adult students from the night school in Aigen. It was fabulous, and so nice to meet new people!
On Tuesday morning when I arrived at school (after a three day weekend!) there was a chocolate St. Nicholas in my box. I don't know who put it there, so all I can say is "Danke, Nikolo!"