Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

"Mullen" and "Matschgern" in the MARTHA villages

Applicant: Martin Kapferer i.V. Gemeinschaft der Muller und Matschgerer der Stadtteile Mühlau und Arzl bzw. der Dörfer Rum, Thaur und Absam
Province: Tyrol
Domain: Social Practices
Year of inclusion: 2011

“Mullen” and “Matschgern” (derives from “mask”/ “to mask”) is a century-old tradition, which is carried out on the night of Shrove Tuesday in the MARTHA villages north of Innsbruck. The procession’s main figures are witches, “Melcher”, mirror-“tuxer”, “zaggler” and “zottler” along with other supporting characters. Each figure has a role allocated, the witches being precursors, other figures like the mirror-“tuxer” simply impressing with their imposing appearance, while others act as constables. The climax of the hustle and bustle is the so-called “Mullen” or “Abmullen”, a form of testimony of honour, where the bearer of the custom chooses a person from the audience to rub his shoulders and give him a little smack on the back. This “Mullen” or “Matschgern” can either occur within an inn or restaurant or in the streets of the villages.