Jakobikirtag and the rifleman's dance

The festival of the Jakobisch├╝tzen at St. Jakob am Thurn

by Barbara / 28. Juli 2022 / Event / Tradition

Sch├╝tzentanz Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

The "Rotmantei" from the Salzburgerland celebrate their Jakobikirtag

In honor of the patron saint of St. Jacob the Elder, the traditional Jakobikirtag of the Jakobisch├╝tzen takes place in St. Jakob am Thurn every year on the last Sunday in July, with a festive mass, procession, early morning pint in the marquee and historical Sch├╝tzen dance.

As a local the Jakobikirtag is for me annually a fixed date. Even when we were children we could hardly wait until the solemn procession was over and after the Punch and Judy show in the castle tower, we could walk for hours between the music in the beer tent and the stalls in front of the pilgrimage church. Even nowadays you can see the children festively dressed and happily whizzing through the beer tent. People meet again, enjoy the atmosphere in the beer tent after the festive mass with cool drinks and a grilled chicken and wait for the historical Sch├╝tzentanz to begin in the afternoon!

Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Ever since I can remember, I have been part of Jakobikirtag. Even though it seems to be the same every year, it is always a little different. Read on, take a look at my pictures from previous years and find out what exactly awaits you at the traditional Jakobikirtag of the Jakobisch├╝tzen.

Who are the Jacobi Shooters?

But let"s start from the beginning! Who are these "Rotmantei" (red coat) from the Salzburgerland actually. The Jakobisch├╝tzen at St. Jakob am Thurn are among the most traditional rifle corps in the province of Salzburg and were founded as a defensive group at the time of the Turkish and Tartar invasions. Thus, in 1476, the Jakobibr├╝derschaft was formed, which also functioned as a peasant guard. Since 1926, the Jakobisch├╝tzen zu St. Jakob am Thurn have existed in their current form and the club currently comprises 73 active marksmen and 2 sutlers.

Jakobisch├╝tzen zu St. Jakob am Thurn ┬ę Sulzer

Preserving tradition and customs

The Jakobisch├╝tzen aim to practice the Prangerstutzen shooting according to the old custom, as well as to wear and honor the ancestral costume dating back to 1738 on special local and native occasions. The red Hispanic skirts are the trademark of the Jakobisch├╝tzen. Therefore, the Jakobisch├╝tzen are also widely known by the nickname the "Rotmantei".

Prangerstutzen shooters

The Prangerstutzen guns are mentioned for the first time in the Jakobisch├╝tzen in 1790. They carried the "boeller guns", as they were common at that time around the Rupertus town at ecclesiastical and secular representations. A "Stutzen" - not to be confused with a pair of knitted socks made of wool for the feet - weighed 12 kilos and was 70 centimeters long for the Jakobisch├╝tzen! As a feature, the Stutzen of the Jakobisch├╝tzen are built of local walnut and are equipped with a small scallop - the pilgrim scallop, made of light maple wood.

Stutzen ┬ę Jakobisch├╝tzen zu St. Jakob am Thurn

TIP: The Jakobisch├╝tzen have very special Prangerstutzen, which they made themselves for last year"s anniversary celebration. More about this in the TENNENGAU MAGAZINE under ┬áÔÇ×Prangerstutzen-Herstellung im Salzburger LandÔÇť

Jakobireiter on horseback

Beside the special historical story also the Jakobireiter is a speciality with the Salzburg Sch├╝tzenvereine. Anton Hager jun. rides at the celebrations with the flag in the hand, all in front and means in addition "it is to me a special honor, since also my father - the present captain Anton Hager - already before-rode. Meanwhile I do it already the 14th year and I will do it also further gladly still longer".

Jakobireiter - Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

But not only the Jacobi rider in his red frock coat and polished riding boots gets dressed up for the ride, but also his Noriker mare "Flora" is especially dressed up. The 6 parts of the harness - saddle, crupper, breast harness, halter, bridle and lead line - are mostly made of brass and have to be cleaned gently with a special cleaning agent and cloth. Since it can already take the 3 hours until everything shines.

Tip: take a closer look - the castle tower of St. Jakob is depicted on the breastplate!

Even then, the Jakobisch├╝tzen were on the road with the horse as Jakobireiter in the Tennengau. The picture from the year 1935 shows my great-grandfather Johann Seltenhofer on the left in the picture with Johann Brunnauer and Sigfried Hilzensauer at a disengagement high on horseback.

Jakobireiter ┬ę Lackner

Faithful to the old custom

If you want to learn more about the historical rifle company from the Tennengau, I recommend the club chronicle: Faithful to the old custom!

Treu dem alten Brauch - Chronik Jakobisch├╝tzen

The chronicle was created in 2016 for the 540th anniversary celebration and comprises 160 pages. It is a condensed summary of the existing visual and written material and is written in a light, entertaining, understandable and informative manner. "With respect and gratitude for our ancestors" ties to their homeland, and as an expression of love for our roots. A book about our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and about us. For our children and their children. Faithful to the old custom", says Jakobischuetz and author Martin Krispler about the chronicle of the Jakobischuetz. Source were thereby 35 picture suppliers with scarcely 1,000 pictures, the gapless activity reports and/or annual general meeting minutes since the reestablishment 1926 and innumerable discussions with the ?older? generation and many time witnesses. Available at jakobischuetzen@gmx.at

On to Jakobikirtag in Puch - that"s the schedule!

In addition to the Corpus Christi festival in spring and the harvest festival in fall, the Jakobikirtag in July is the largest annual festival in St. Jakob am Thurn, where the Jakobisch├╝tzen in the village turn out in full force. In addition, visitors are entertained by the Jakobisch├╝tzen themselves at the early morning pint in the festival tent and some also take part in the historical Sch├╝tzen dance.

Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Wake-up call of the Jakobisch├╝tzen

The annual festival starts with the wake-up call at 7:00 am. Above St. Jakob am Thurn some Jakobisch├╝tzen gather in the morning and fire a Stutzen salute to the festive day. Afterwards, the Jakobisch├╝tzen gather with the ┬áMusikkapelle Puch and the L├Âschzug St. Jakob at the Vereinshaus and march together to the pilgrimage church of St. Jakobus the Elder, where the residents of the village and numerous guests wait until the festive mass begins.

Festive mass with Jakobi procession

If the weather is fine, the service with all local associations takes place at the church square under the old Kaiserlinde. Afterwards the churchgoers move to the 4 Gospels around the Hauserfeld. Behind the Jakobireiter the music band Puch and the fire brigade FF St. Jakob.

Prozession - Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Also present in the procession are the altar boys, the church choir, the "Frautr├Ągerinnen" carrying the statue of the Holy Mother of God and four St. James shooters carrying a statue of St. James. Behind them the many churchgoers praying together from station to station. The parish priest holds the monstrance in his hand and four marksmen carry the canopy - the roof of heaven. After the blessing "Blessed be this place and all who live here..." follows a salute shot by the Jakobisch├╝tzen before the Musikkapelle Puch starts the procession again with the next march.

Tip: learn more about monstrance, canopy and Co in the Puch Magazine under "Corpus Christi: we celebrate Prangertag in Puch & St. Jakob".

Morning pint in the festival tent

After the festive mass, the entertainment in the festival tent begins with the morning pint of the Musikkapelle Puch. With grilled chicken, beer and homemade delicacies at the cake buffet, "Ein Prosit" is intoned from time to time or to the "Rainermarsch" eagerly clapping hands, singing along and standing up. The one or other schnapps from the sutlers may not be missing!

Meanwhile, the children run back and forth between the forest, playground, marquee and stalls and look forward to meeting all their schoolmates and friends who are not often seen during the summer vacations.

Fr├╝hschoppen mit der MK Puch beim Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Punch and Judy show at the castle

At noon, it is noticeable that fewer and fewer children are rushing around in the marquee and at the stalls. No wonder, they are also sitting on the other side of the pond in the castle garden and amusing themselves at the traditional Punch and Judy show.

The highlight of Jakobikirtag - the Sch├╝tzenentanz!

The highlight of Jakobikirtag is certainly the historical Sch├╝tzenentanz at 16.00 clock which was performed for the first time in 1738! The figure dance illustrates the time of the expulsion of the Turks with 16 marksmen with pillory, ensign with attendant, sutlers, drummers, group of pipers, St. James and the captain, the visitors in nine figures. In the picture you can see the Sch├╝tzenentanz from 1937:

Sch├╝tzentanz Jakobikirtag 1937 ┬ę Jakobisch├╝tzen

The dance, which lasts about thirty minutes, shows the departure of the archers from the tower and the reception of the local saint - St. James the Apostle, who is venerated as a pilgrim and apostle of peace. In addition, the announcer gives a rhymed narration, where to each verse the corresponding figure such as "the gate" or the "snake dance" is danced.

Ei, wer kommt uns da entgegen,
aus fremden Land, auf B├╝├čerwegen,

Ein Wandersmann mit brauner Kutt,
mit Pilgerstab und breitem Hut.

St. Jakobus, hispanischer Gast,
das Ziel der Wanderung g`funden hast.

Excerpt from the chronicle: Treu dem alten Brauch. The Jakobisch├╝tzen at St. Jakob am Thurn, 2016. p. 135

Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

In the middle of it instead of just being there!

Just like many other St. Jakober, who think of the Sch├╝tzenentanz, the melody immediately comes to my mind and I start whistling. One thinks of the Jakobisch├╝tzen playing with recorders and the distinctive drum beats, when the drummer runs after the "tower", around the "weir" and the shooters kneel down one by one to salute.

As a former sutler of the Jakobisch├╝tzen, I remember exactly how exciting it was every year. Is the costume complete, are all the Mascherl of the dancers tied, which figure comes first, hopefully you do not trip and most importantly - do not forget the absorbent cotton for the ears! Before the "Weir" is formed, the ensign moves with the Schinageln (powder boys), the James and the sutlers to the center of the dance. All around, the St. James shooters kneel down with their socks and start the line fire according to the command. That is, 16 powerful salutes in honor of St. James and as a sutler in the middle of the fog and smoke.

Jakobikirtag Sch├╝tzentanz ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

I had the honor of participating in the dance myself eight times and, with the shot glass in my hand, highly concentrated after eight hours of selling schnapps, dancing backwards at the "alley" by the Jakobisch├╝tzen. Above all, I had to concentrate with my head not to bump into the sockets that the shooters shouldered. One must not be too fast, but also not too slow, in order to get from the center back to the front in time in harmony with the music, where one turns once again to the left and right in waltz step before the Markedenter leaves the "alley" and the "ring" forms behind her.

Sch├╝tzentanz Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

After that, a stout is poured for the "announcer", who says goodbye with these words before marching off together:

Die Jakobisch├╝tzen danken mit Freud`,
da├č ihr, liebe G├Ąst┬┤gekommen seid,

und uns taten die Ehre schenken,
mit Flei├č wir nun ein Gl├Ąslein schwenken.

Auf euer Wohl - ein Sch├╝tzenheil!

Excerpt from the chronicle: Treu dem alten Brauch. The Jakobisch├╝tzen at St. Jakob am Thurn, 2016. p. 139

Salvo of honor is given!

After the Sch├╝tzentanz still the many guests of honor with some salvos are "shot" and them with a Schnapserl for their donation of money thanked, before it goes back again into the marquee and still a few hours with live music the dance leg swung and the conclusion of the Jakobikirtag is celebrated.

Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Invitation to Jakobikirtag

You also want to be at the Jakobikirtag? Then slip into your dirndl or lederhosen and just drop by - the Jakobisch├╝tzen zu St. Jakob am Thurn are looking forward to your visit!

Einladung zum Jakobikirtag ┬ę TVB Puch ÔÇô Gerber

Tip: current pictures of the Jakobikirtag in St. Jakob am Thurn can be found on the festival weekend on Instagram under @visitpuch

SUPPLEMENT - Pictures of the Jakobikirtag 2022!

The Jakobikirtag 2022 was a lavish celebration! Hundreds of visitors followed the invitation of the Jakobisch├╝tzen to St. Jakob am Thurn and were already present in the morning at the festive mass with procession around the Hauserfelt. After the morning pint of the music band Puch took place at 16.00 clock - after a 2-year break - the historical Sch├╝tzenentanz.

Have fun looking through the pictures!


Festive mass with procession

Photographer: Barbara Gerber

Historischer Sch├╝tzentanz

Photographer: Barbara Gerber

Photographer: Chris Hofer

Important: The pictures are property of the tourism association Puch and may be used only after arrangement!

TIPP: Videos of the Jakobikirtag and the historical Sch├╝tzentanz can be found in the Instagram-Reels!

Hier geht`s zum Jakobikirtag nach St. Jakob am Thurn:

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