Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

"Samsontragen" in the Lungau region and in Murau

Applicant: Gauverband der Lungauer Heimat- und Brauchtumsvereinigungen, Gauobmann Eduard Fuchsberger
Samsongruppe Ramingstein, Samsongruppe Tamsweg, Samsongruppe Mauterndorf, Samsongruppe St. Margarethen, Samsongruppe Muhr, Samsongruppe Mariapfarr, Samsongruppe St. Andrä, Samsongruppe Wölting, Samsongruppe der Murauer Bürgergarde, Samsongruppe Krakaudorf, Samsongruppe Unternberg, Samsongruppe St. Michael
Province: Salzburg, Styria
Domain: Social Practices
Year of inclusion: 2010

In Austria, the tradition of “Samsontragen“ can only be found in the Lungau region (Salzburg) and in two communities in the adjacent federal province of Styria. These regions, however, consider this tradition, which attracts innumerable guests every year, to be a firm part of their annual rites.

“Samsontragen” goes back to the baroque period, when Capuchin monks organized magnificent processions during the Feast of Corpus Christi and on Brotherhood Monday (a week later) with bible portrayals and interpretations on carts. The carts featured a gigantic sculpture of Samson, a judge from the Old Testament. At the end of the 18th century, during the Enlightenment and Reformation period, the public presentation of such figures during processions was prohibited. Since then, this custom has been carried out before and after processions instead. The aforementioned gigantic characters are also well-known in other European countries such as Spain, Belgium, Portugal or France.