Saturday, 2 January 2021


The Alemannic holiday celebrated generally on this day in Liechtenstein and certain Swiss cantons and strongly associated with Rauhnรคchte traditions has contending etymologies and pedigrees including a late twelfth century abbot, a storied hunting expedition undertaken around the same time by a like-named duke or to the alpine pagan protectoress of wild things called Perchta (*Brehtaz, Bertha) and leader of the entourage of the hunting party. This final candidate is the most interesting and compelling, the figure a cultural continuity from pre-Christian influences and was given the role of upholding totem and taboo, reinforcing ritual fasting and the prohibition of working on the holidays, Sabbaths and monitoring the progress of servants and craftspeople to make sure that they were keeping up with the productivity quotas—later transferred to winnowing the naughty from the nice (see also) like her male counterpart Krampus—with the good and upstanding rewarded with a silver coin the next day in a shoe or pail and the recalcitrant would be eviscerated and have their innards and the contents of their bellies replaced with straw, flax and pebbles.