So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


Travel Theme; Tradition

Couldn’t have been a better one for me, as this little part of the world, the Lungau in Austria (which is now a UNESCO  Biosphere reserve, what ever that means), is so steeped in tradition, most people have completely forgotten why they do stuff, but they still do it!

Our main claim to fame are our Samsons, a Catholic parade was created by a Priest to help people to increase their faith. The only other place to do it is in Spain.We have seven,and they come with tiny twins.

Samson carries his donkey jaw to fight with,  but most he does is a little twirling dance. But when you consider, it’s just one bloke inside, its probably just as well. Our Ramingstein one fell over the over year and hurt his nose -the guy inside had a little too much shandy, and they put his head back on the wrong way round, but the heads rotate, as we watched, it was quite spooky!

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Frohnleichnam or the Feast of Corpus Christi

Sometimes, I just don’t think things through properly. I’ve been so wanting to get to know people and mix in and thought the Trachtenfrauen was a good group to join.  They were great, even finding me a Dirndl that I can wear until September when there’s a big swop meet and I can get a traditional one.  All the week before the first outing, I guess I was freaking out a bit about wearing this thing in public – I am surgically attached to trousers, having fat legs and am life-long tom boy!   I even kept it secret from Dave so I didn’t have to put it on for him to see it beforehand, what a twit I am!!!!!

The day before, I thought, lets see what this festival is all about.  As I read, my heart sank.  It’s only about one of the main theological differences between Catholics and Protestants, what the dickens am I doing associating  myself with all this?  I’m on the local church PCC,  and I just cannot agree with this festival. It’s not even biblical, some saint wanted to celebrate the event of the first communion being made, and with all the fuss of Easter and Pentecost, asked the local Bishop who agreed to a Mass and Procession. When this Saint died, another asked for it to be extended to all the Catholic church and so it was.  It involves the Priest under a canopy trotting around the village to set points, holding a Monstrance with a host in front of his face.  I don’t think he can see where he’s going at all.  Being Austria, they also shoot the cannon as the priest prays.  Each station has a set reading from the gospels.  They also cart a statue of the Virgin Mary along, which is completely silly -she wasnt even there!  Linda told me earlier it had to be carried by Virgins who had to wear a special outfit…………

I was in a right state by the evening before, and went to Linda for advice.  Quite sanely, she said the group has helped you get the kit, you’ve said you’ll go and you must try it.  Test how you feel and what God is saying to you.  She is right, my neighbour in the group knows I’m Protestant. It was the right decision, so the next morning at 7.30, I was ready to go……….

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We went to church at Mariapfarr last Sunday, where the Protestant church has a holiday service during August for the holiday makers – and in the Catholic church too!  It was a lovely morning, the light in the sanctuary and the flowers are always beautiful.

I find the sermons difficult, but when we got to communion there were some new faces as we formed a circle at the altar.  A couple came up very slowly, he was being supported by his wife, as he had a walking stick and his hands were shaking.  As the pastor began, she burst into sobs and everyone just froze. I didn’t know what to do either and during the communion I prayed in tounges for their healing.  We then returned to our seats and at the end of the service the couple left and wandered to the back of the church.  I wanted too much to go and offer to pray with them, but oh, the flippin language.  No one went after them, then a lady who we’ve known since we were here said to me, I must talk to them. We shot off but it was difficult, the woman had her barriers up and we learnt they’d lived here for nine years and where and they know where the usual monthly service was, maybe they’d come and they left.

I was so annoyed with myself, that I hadn’t offered to pray because of the language.  But maybe it would have been too soon, this is another culture. I felt so sad that I could say so much but not in German.  I will sit down as soon as the Burg is finished and study harder.  Maybe it was too soon, and I feel we’ll see them again.

Then it dawned on me, God had sent me with one of the few people who were there who could have translated for me as as she speaks English.  Why does it take so long for the penny to drop?