Find accommodation & make a request
from 118 €
Granpanorama Hotel StephansHof
Winter sports | Villanders in Eisacktal
Tip
Holidays in Naturns near Meran
Nature, fun and well-being.
from 131 €
SONNENHOF Sun/Spa/Panorama
Sporthotel | Pfalzen at Mt. Kronplatz
from 174 €
MIRABELL DOLOMITES HOTEL
Luxury . Ayurveda & SPA | Olang at Mt. Kronplatz
from 142 €
LANERHOF Active/Spa/Balance
Spa-Hotel | St. Lorenzen at Mt. Kronplatz
s
from 94 €
Wirtshaushotel Alpenrose
Active hotel | St. Lorenzen at Mt. Kronplatz
s
from 289 €
Wellness Refugium Alpin Royal
Charm & warmth | St. Johann in Tauferer Ahrntal
from 190 €
WINKLER Sport & Spa Resort
Design hotel | St. Lorenzen at Mt. Kronplatz
from 200 €
Quellenhof Luxury Resort Passeier
Sport & wellness resort | Passeiertal
from 110 €
Grand Hotel Bellevue
City hotel | Meran
from 221 €
Alpenpalace Luxury Hideaway & Spa Retreat
Exclusive well-being oasis | St. Johann in Tauferer Ahrntal
The NEW South Tyrol Blog
The best stories from South Tyrol - Get inspired!
s
from 110 €
Hotel Fameli
Family & spa resort | Olang at Mt. Kronplatz
s
from 90 €
Hotel Saltauserhof
Wellness hotel | St. Martin in Passeier

Burning incense in South Tyrol

Cleansing with smoke, driving away evil spirits and keeping away mischief… The time between Christmas and the first days of the new year is full of magic and old traditions.

The so-called “Rauhnächte“ (Rough Nights or Twelve Days of Christmas) originate from everyday rural life. In South Tyrol, they still have a meaning for many people today, albeit in a reduced form. Initially, it was assumed that there were 12 Rough Nights, which symbolized the 12 months of the next year. They began on St. Thomas Day (21 December) and ended on Epiphany (6 January). Depending on the region, different dates are also possible.

In popular belief, the border between this world and the hereafter is particularly thin during these nights, so that all kinds of powers can pass through. Thus, it is considered the best time for predictions and oracles. It was also said that animals could speak and tell of the future during a Rough Night.

In most families today, one to three Rough Nights still play a role. For example, on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and/or on the eve of Epiphany, incense is burned. If possible, the whole family must be present. In the past, it was interpreted as a bad sign if someone was missing.

The incense tradition in South Tyrol
The incense tradition in South Tyrol

Resins, especially incense, special mixtures and dried herbs are usually placed on the glowing coals in the censer.

xbqs42 - pixabay.com

What is the purpose of burning incense?

Fragrant smoke is not only supposed to purify the air, but also to keep evil away from house and farm, to protect humans and animals from illness and danger. Depending on the incense used, different effects can also be achieved. In the past, for example, the stable was fumigated with wormwood to protect the animals from curses and dark magic. Mugwort, on the other hand, helps against fears, rosemary against negative energies or juniper against a poisoned atmosphere.

How do you burn incense?

First, you put glowing coals into a censer or another fireproof container. Sometimes even an old iron is used. Resins, usually incense or special mixtures, are placed on the embers so that it begins to smoke. If you like, you can also add dried herbs, flowers or roots.

In any case, burning incense is done before 9 p.m., because if it is too late, it is considered a sign of bad harvest. The head of the family carries the censer and waves the smoke into every corner of the house. The family follows him in prayer, one person sprinkling holy water on everything. The small procession starts in the kitchen and goes through every room, including the stable and barn on the farm.

For the exact procedure and details of the incense ritual during the Rough Nights, each family has its own peculiarities. Some wave the smoke to spoons and food on the table. Others under pillows and blankets, or even under the headgear of those present. Still others go around the entire farm three times with the censer.

Current holiday offers

from 110 €
Familienhotel Bella Vista

Experience holiday with the whole family in Vinschgau: hiking programme, childcare, caressing ponies and time for relaxation.

To the hotel
from 122 €
Hotel & SPA RESORT Majestic

TOP hotel ****s in Pustertal - large garden with swimming pool, natural bathing pond, saunas, guided hikes and much more!

To the hotel
from 138 €
Vitalpina Hotel Schulerhof

A dream holiday - for active guests who enjoy relaxation, culinary delights, and friendly interactions.

To the hotel
from 100 €
Hotel Tirolerhof

Welcome to the Tirolerhof at the gateway to the Gsieser Valley. Your perfect place for active holidays and pure relaxation!

To the hotel

Traditions

Selected accommodations in South Tyrol

Glögglhof - Girlan in Southern South Tyrol
Glögglhof
Girlan in Southern South Tyrol
4.9 Excellent

Farm holidays in the wine village Girlan and in cosy apartments – ideal for active travellers and for those who are looking for regeneration!

from 105 € per day
Hotel & Residence Johanneshof - Tscherms in Meran and environs
superior
Hotel & Residence Johanneshof
Tscherms in Meran and environs
4.5 Excellent

Comfortable rooms & spacious apartments, rich breakfast buffet or bread service, garden with heated pool, sunbathing lawn and garden house with whirlpool.

Tirolerin rooms & suites & breakfast - Tramin an der Weinstraße in Southern South Tyrol
superior
Tirolerin rooms & suites & breakfast
Tramin an der Weinstraße in Southern South Tyrol
4.3 Very good

Inviting rooms and suites, excellent breakfast, heated outdoor pool in the garden & unlimited possibilities for active guests.

from 65 € per day
Pension Felsenegg - Tisens in Meran and environs
Pension Felsenegg
Tisens in Meran and environs
4.7 Excellent

Inviting B&B in the environs of Meran with comfortable and cosy rooms, a delicious breakfast, dreamlike garden & wonderful view of the vineyards.

from 35 € per day
Service