Thanksgiving festival in SalzburgerLand

This is how Thanksgiving is celebrated in Puch & St. Jakob am Thurn.

by Barbara / 23. September 2021 / Event / Tradition

Erntedankfest in Puch ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

Autumn is harvest time here in Tennengau!

The pears, grapes and apples are just harvested ripe and processed into fresh juices, brandies or dried fruit. The hay as winter fodder for the animals is in the hay barn and the last herbs and vegetables, such as pumpkin and zucchini, are fetched from the garden. It"s harvest time in Salzburg, and that"s why now is the perfect time to say thank you! What better way to say thank you than with a celebration - Thanksgiving.

Erntedank St. Jakob am Thurn ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

How such a harvest festival in Puch and St. Jakob runs and what special features each festival has, I will show you in this post with pictures from recent years. But let"s start with the story of the harvest festival. Or do you know since when Thanksgiving has been celebrated?

Erntekrone Puch ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

The story of the harvest festival

For millennia, the harvest time was considered the high point of the year and the end of the harvest has always been a festive occasion. Thanksgiving is one of the oldest religious festivals in the Church. As early as ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire and ancient Greece, rituals for thanksgiving were known and people made offerings to their various fertility gods as thanks for a good harvest. Later on, the Germans and Celts (like us on the D├╝rrnberg) celebrated the summer harvest with harvest festivals and animal sacrifices.

Thanksgiving is not an original Christian festival!

Unlike Christmas or Easter, Thanksgiving is not based on an event from the life of Jesus. However, it has always been a need for people to thank God for the gifts of nature and the festival has become an indispensable part of the church"s annual cycle. The Christians integrated the custom of the ancestral harvest festivals into the Christian faith and thank God for his gifts in the autumn. In the Old Testament in the book of Genesis it is reported that Cain made a sacrifice of his crops to his god Yahweh and Abel offered a sacrifice of the young animals of his flock. Thanksgiving celebrations have been known to Christians since the 3rd century AD, but it was not until the 16th century that the church set certain days for thanksgiving sermons. Usually this was the Sunday after Michaelmas (September 29th), i.e. the first Sunday in October.

Back then on the farm

Heuarbeit St. Jakob ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

Back when the fields were mowed by hand with a scythe, people worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset in the summer months and there was no time to go to big festivals. Thanksgiving gave the landlords the opportunity to thank their maids and farmhands with harvest beer and a festive meal. Often even with live music to dance with. It also gave you the opportunity to apologize for some of the harsh words that had been said in the busy weeks before. From the peasant celebrations and parish festivals, I have also developed many large, well-known annual fairs.

Thanksgiving in Puch & St. Jakob am Thurn

The harvest festival has a long tradition in Salzburg and is celebrated in a wide variety of ways throughout the state. Thanksgiving in Puch is celebrated twice and small differences can already be seen here. On the last Sunday in September at the pilgrimage church in St. Jakob am Thurn and on the first Sunday in October at the parish church in Puch. What both festivals have in common is the background to SAY THANK YOU and the festively decorated harvest crown as the center of the action.

Erntedankfest in Puch ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

The harvest crown - a symbol of power

In addition to the festive altar decorations from the delicious gifts of the parish, the harvest crown is an important symbol for Thanksgiving. The crown is lovingly prepared the day before the festive mass by the young women in the two parishes in Puch and St. Jakob am Thurn and decorated with fresh farmer"s bread, fruit and vegetables. Due to the dried grain, the basic structure of the crown holds for a few years until it has to be tied again.

Erntekrone Puch ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

The crown consists of four struts, which stand for hope, faith, care and thanks and (if available) of four different types of grain, such as wheat, rye, oats and barley, which are tied around the struts. The wreath at the base of the crown symbolizes eternity without beginning or end. A large grapevine usually hangs in the middle, and freshly harvested fruit and vegetables, as well as a farmer"s bread, are placed on the floor. The grapes in particular must be carefully guarded until the festival so that no one steals one of the sweet grapes.

A wreath of green box is tied around the crown and the corners of the crown struts are often decorated with fresh flowers. The harvest crown is carried through the town by four young girls during the harvest festival procession and then placed in the parish church for the festival.

Thanksgiving festival in St. Jakob am Thurn

Erntedankfest in St. Jakob ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

Off to the dirndl and lederhosen and then quickly on time (like down with me) to the village, where the first members of the local clubs are already bustling around. Quickly light a grave light at the cemetery, save the flowers from dying of thirst with fresh water and then go to where everyone is. In St. Jakob, the harvest festival starts either on the church square or at the clubhouse, where the parish meets with the local clubs. After the priest"s first words of welcome, after a short procession behind the Puch band, people march with the harvest crown to the festively decorated pilgrimage church.

After the festival mass, a lavish parish festival is usually celebrated under the old imperial linden tree. Due to the corona, this year the morning pint with the Puch band will take place at the Der Schützenwirt inn, where you can indulge your culinary delights. The popular cake buffet is still being organized by the parish and is looking forward to many customers.

The harvest festival in St. Jakob takes place this year on Sunday, September 26th from 9.00 a.m.!

Thanksgiving festival in Puch near Hallein

Traditional costumes have also been worn in Puch for years, especially at traditional celebrations and weddings. Regardless of age, the whole village is there in dirndl, lederhosen or traditional costume at the harvest festival. Babies get their first lederhosen or their first dirndl dress before they can even walk and laugh out of the stroller.

During Thanksgiving in Puch, the local associations meet at the fire station and then march together to the rectory, at the rear entrance of the parish church, where the pastor is already waiting with his heavenly bearers and the acolytes. Together with the harvest crown and the church choir, they march to the forecourt at the Hotel Gasthof Kirchenwirt. There the festive mass starts at the festively decorated altar with a carpet of hay and flowers, which is lovingly prepared by senior boss August Rettenbacher at every festivity, such as on Prangertag and Palm Sunday.

After the introductory mass at the Kirchenwirt, the local associations and churchgoers move back to the fire station, where a festively decorated altar is ready for a prayer. Then the Puch band leads the procession along the Grubenbauernweg and the parish hall to the rear entrance of the parish church. As soon as everyone has found a place in the church, the service is celebrated together.

After the festive mass in the parish church of Puch and the salvos of the gunners of the historical rifle company Puch, the churchgoers come to the church host with the local associations and let the Sunday end with a morning pint with the Puch band.

The harvest festival in Puch near Hallein will take place this year on Sunday, October 3rd from 9.00 a.m.!

Harvest time - time for connoisseurs and collectors

But not only the harvest festival awaits you in autumn. Unique play of colors in nature and culinary specialties await you here in Puch near Salzburg.

Fasanenbrust Wildwochen Kirchenwirt ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

Because with autumn comes the enjoyment time. "Da Summa is umma" (dialect for: summer is over) and the days are getting cooler. You like to come back to the cozy parlors and let yourself be pampered with culinary delights, especially with warm dishes. The Pucher Gastro offers you from pumpkin and truffle days, game weeks and goose days, further seasonal delicacies to the existing menu. Here is a first overview of the upcoming specialty days in the Pucher delicacy autumn.

Culinary autumn weeks in the Pucher Gastro

Essbar: September 20th to 30th Pumpkin Days | November 9th to 12th: Goose dinner

Hotel Gasthof Kirchenwirt: October 15 to 31: Game weeks | 4th to 21st November: Goose days

Vinisterium: September 22nd to 26th Truffle Days | from November 9th Gansl | Changing game specialties in autumn

Tip: You can find current events from Puch in the event calendar and in the  Instagram & Facebook!

Hiking in autumn at harvest time

Herbstwanderung in St. Jakob am Thurn ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

And if you let yourself be pampered with culinary delights, you should also exercise a lot! What could be better for this in autumn than a walk in the fresh air? Do you also like to hike through the colorful forest in autumn or do you like to look from the mountain at the brightly colored dress in the valley that is illuminated by the autumn sun? In addition, the forest holds valuable treasures ready for you, for which we can be very grateful.

Picking mushrooms, berries or wild herbs, such as the healthy nettle seeds, is particularly popular when hiking. In addition, colorful leaves, beech nuts, chestnuts as well as stones and dried roots can be collected for the next handicraft lesson before winter comes and the snow makes collecting difficult.

Untersbergblick im Herbs ┬ę TVB Puch - Gerber

What are you thankful for on Thanksgiving?

At Thanksgiving, we especially say thank you for the gifts of creation. The harvest festival is a good opportunity to make people understand the value of our local food and to show that there is a lot of work behind it, from sowing to harvest, so that we can get the best products to live. How many children do not know where the milk in the package originally comes from or which types of fruit grow in their own country. Be grateful for the many delicacies and God"s gifts. You can be grateful for a lot, for family, friends and a roof over your head. What are you grateful for?

I hope you enjoyed my insight into the harvest festivals in Puch and St. Jakob. You can always get the latest pictures and information about the festivities this year on Instagram! Finally, I"ll give you a catchy tune: You surely know "THANK YOU" - this nursery rhyme from the church: "Thank you for this good morning, thank you for every new day, thank you for letting me throw all my worries on you" (hymn by Martin Gotthard Schneider)

This way to Puch near Hallein:

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