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Silvesterchläuse and Schnappesel.

The town of Wald has its unique tradition at the end of the year called 'Silvesterchläuse' (people in masks) who are supposed to attract good luck while the so-called 'Schnappesel' (a person in the disguise of a donkey) drive away the evil spirits of the past year.


It is assumed that the Silvesterchläuse originated from the pagan custom of giving presents. In the past, one did not give presents at Christmas but at the turn of the year. The tradition of today's Silvesterchläuse derived from this tradition. Today, the Silvesterchlaus is accompanied by a donkey (Schnappesel). With the sound of the bells and his rhythmic dance, the Silvesterchlaus shall attract good luck for the new year, while the Schnappesel with his clattering and wild running around is supposed to drive away the evil of the old year.


Early on New Year's Eve morning, at around 6:30 a.m., the Silvesterchlaus and the donkey begin to carry their good wishes for the New Year into all the houses in the outer districts of Wald.

From 1 p.m. they are in the village, where they go from door to door, as has been the custom for decades, to deliver their New Year's wishes.

In the evening at 6:30 p.m. they gather at the railway station for their parade and final dance. This spectacle in the middle of the unlit village, attracts hundreds of spectators from near and far every year and has become a traditional way to start New Year's Eve.

On New Year's Day, Silvesterchlaus and the donkey visit the old people's and nursing homes as well as the high-altitude clinic to pass on their New Year's wishes.

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