Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

The Firecracker Shooters of Wirling

Applicant: Matthias Plamberger i.V. Verein Traditionsschützen Wirling
Province: Upper Austria
Domain: Social Practices
Year of inclusion: 2011

The traditional shooting club of Wirling is probably the only one in Austria which is authorised to carry out the consuetudinary firecracker shooting. The main purpose of the shooters is to participate in religious and secular celebrations, such as weddings, ecclesiastic festivities, processions as well as the shooting on the Twelve Nights after Christmas. The specially-constructed firecracker cannon is placed on higher grounds and, depending on the occasion, fired at exactly the appointed time. Before shooting the next firecracker, it is important to wait until the end of the echo produced by the bang, as this may last up to twelve seconds.

A good firecracker shooter can be identified by the seamless transition from the echo of the first to the shot of the consecutive firecracker. The maintenance of the shooting times is very important for this tradition: for example, a wedding is announced at exactly four o’ clock in the morning with four firecracker shots, with the right amount of crackers, according to the hour, fired at every full hour until Mass.