Talk:Pre-Christian Alpine traditions

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those masks look to real!--Dangerous-Boy 07:16, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Rural areas[edit]

It was mentioned a couple times in the article that Perchten and Krampus survive only in rural areas. And though the whole of Austria may be considered rural to Germans, the tradition continues in well-populated areas as well. I didn't change anything because I'm only judging by my own experiences in Austria... Midwest Maedel 10:21, 11 December 2006 (UTC) Midwest Maedel

Chronology does not match[edit]

The germanic peoples who invaded the Alps were already christian when they arrived. This means that the survivance is not linked with " the mutual isolation of Alpine communities ". 00:14, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

But Germanic Christianity didn't exactly break sharply with pagan traditions. Still, I'm not even sure if the customs described in this article really go back to Germanic paganism.
Don't forget that the Alpine region was a refuge zone for Gallo-Roman culture and Romance idioms in early medieval times (when Germanic tribes were spread all over Europe), and in places for a long time after (even until the present day). So what the Roman Church (that later became the Roman Catholic Church) met here were essentially Romanised Celts who probably retained some customs predating the influx of Roman culture. In places such as the Alpine Rhine valley and the Engadin, i. e. Graubünden, or in the Dolomites, even until modern times, there were only a Celtic layer (or Raetic layer respectively in the Dolomites), a Roman layer and a Christian layer, with relatively little outside influence, and no strong Germanic layer as elsewhere. At the time the Church established itself in the area, most areas of the Alps had no strong Germanic element and Gallo-Roman culture had been able to continue relatively undisturbed. In Graubünden, there probably was strong cultural continuity from the founding of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chur in the 4th century AD on, this area even having had ecclesiastic and relative political autonomy for much of its history. Also for this reason, the influences of Germanic-speaking cultures were later and weaker than in other places where a Romance population was assimilated - or driven out - by Germanic invaders much earlier, or of course, where there never was a Romance population to begin with. For all of these reasons, it seems more plausible to me that these customs go back to Celtic or Raetic customs than Germanic ones. In particular, I am thinking of cults of pagan gods such as Cernunnos, see also Horned God#Romano-Celtic fusion.
Apparently, the Roman Catholic church has always been relatively tolerant and instead of outright condemning pagan cults, followed the strategy of allowing pagan gods to be integrated in the form of saints - it still does so, for example, in Central America. Also in this case, it apparently accepted, even if grudgingly, remnants of pagan cults to be practiced. Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Just a few comments here. For one, I'd say "Germanic Christianity" only vaguely resembled pre-Christian Germanic paganism. For example, there was clearly a very strong shamanic element, and, further, take the status of any female figure after the Christianization process; deity or citizen. The role of women in heathen Germanic societies was completely warped (or deleted outright) during the Christianization process. Consider a similar tradition to Perchten in Scandinavia - the Yule Goat. A man dressed up as a goat and went around during Yule-time. Then there's the North Germanic cognates to Holda. As a side note, I would not use the term "tolerant" and "Roman Catholic Church" in the same sentence for this time period. It's a shame that there doesn't really seem to be any readily available study of these Alpine customs in English - this article obviously needs some work. :bloodofox: (talk) 02:46, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. Well, I said "relatively tolerant" for a reason: I was thinking of Protestantism in comparison, which has always been much more fundamentalist in their policy towards indigenous religions and does not allow any popular cults; that only means that the Roman Catholic Church simply pursued a pragmatic compromise and tolerated and integrated pagan cults to some extent only because it was so hard to eradicate them entirely without eradicating the population to convert, not out of a tolerant mindset (as in Humanism).
Perhaps there was a fusion of Pre-Roman or Romano-Celtic and Germanic traditions - I would not attach too much weight to the word Holda, though, because non-Germanic figures, traditions etc. can have become described with Germanic terminology once the Alpine valleys became Germanised. I agree that this phenomenon deserves more attention than this short WP article indicates. There must be quite some literature in German.
That said, returning to the initial issue, it must be emphasised that the Bavarians were not yet Christian at the time they first started to venture into the Alpine valleys and establish settlements there, namely in the 6th and 7th centuries. Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:27, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

what is paganism?[edit]

I don't think that any customs and traditions dating back to the pagan era have to be called paganism... Torzsmokus 03:41, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

"Eastern Alps"[edit]

Does one really consider Switzerland and Austria in the Eastern Alps. If not, this covers "Paganism in the Alps", not just the Eastern Alps. Goldenrowley 01:42, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

I'll go ahead and rename it like the very first sentence, "Paganism in the Alpine region". Rational: first sentence says that is this topic.Goldenrowley 20:39, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
the title is awkward anyway. The people practicing these traditions are not pagans, they are Christians (and today increasingly irreligious). What is intended are surviving pre-Christian traditions. I'll try to account for this with another move. dab (𒁳) 07:47, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
How about Ancient Midwinter Alpine traditions. Its a given that in "ancient times" the alps were polytheist and not Christian. Also the word "ancient" can signify very old yet still alive, were as "pre-Christian" can signify distinction from and extinction after the coming of Christianity, even though these traditions were incorporated with Christian observances. If we wanted to really get accurate about it, Surviving Midwinter Traditions of Germanic polytheism in the Alpine regions would be the most accurate title. But thats too much. 16:36, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


I've been asked for a third opinion in relation to the images used to illustrate this article. On this occasion, rather than one image being preferable to another, I believe that the article is over-illustrated at present. An article of this size requires only one or two images for effective illustration, and there are currently too many: as WP:IUP states "Articles may get ugly and difficult to read if there are too many images crammed onto a page with relatively little text". I'd move for a consensus where one or two pertinent images are used to effectively illustrate the content. ColdmachineTalk 00:22, 8 January 2009 (UTC)