Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

The “Ruden“ dance in Sierning

Applicant: Rudenkomitee Sierning
Province: Upper Austria
Domain: Performing arts
Year of inclusion: 2013

Until the 20th century, the folk dance “Ländler” had been known as a “dance for all” throughout the Southern German-speaking areas and beyond. In Traunviertel, a region in the south-east of Upper Austria, a very particular manifestation of the Ländler has been handed down by the so-called “Ruden”. Ruden derives from “roti”, which is Old German for pack or herd. Aside from nursing traditions throughout the year, these Ruden – mostly peasant fellowships for young men – have cultivated polyphonic singing, an important prerequisite for performing the Traunviertler Landler which is at the core of the Ruden dance. For the past 200 years, a festivity named “Ruden Fair of Sierning” has been held on Shrove Tuesday, when the Ruden of the Traunviertel (dance groups of about four to eight couples) come together. Aside from the music, dance and song, particular attention is paid to the “Gstanzl” – rhymes of eight lines – which are written anew year after year and serve as a moral corrective throughout the region due to their critical and mocking allusions to local, national and global socio-political events.