Woman with 3 girls in traditional costumes
© SalzburgerLand Tourismus - Customs and Tradtitions

Traditional Costume and Customs

Each region has its own costume and what the costume reveals about its wearer and tradition

SalzburgerLand has five Gaus and each Gau, from the Flachgau, the Pinzgau, Pongau, via Lungau and Tennengau, has its own regional customs and traditions. Also region’s costume has its own expression of colour, embroidery and style. These traditional costumes and customs connect and create cohesion between the regions as tradition is kept alive throughout SalzburgerLand.

A traditional festival, such as the Samson carrying in Lungau, the pomace in Pinzgau or the many harvest festival processions throughout the county, strengthens village community spirit. Everyone contributes to the success and looks forward to social gatherings, joint celebrations, dancing and making music. The local innkeepers conjure up delicious dishes from regional ingredients from the local farmers and producers, local craftsmen present their artistic crafts and traditional bands, folk musicians and alphorn players provide the music for the festivals. All these group efforts ensure the success of the many traditional festivals, and not only ensure a wonderful atmosphere for all visitors, but also strengthens the cohesion within the villages.

The power of traditional costume

Almost every Salzburger has at least one piece of traditional costume in their possession. These include the deerskins inherited from great-grandfather, a comfortable weekday dirndl, a traditional festive dress with bodice and noble apron, the club costume of musicians or marksmen, traditional costumes and self-knitted socks. Such traditional costume is no longer only worn on special days such as weddings and family celebrations. In SalzburgerLand, dirndls and lederhosen are often seen as workwear. The friendly ladies on the reception or in the tourist office, the hut landlord and the dashing waitress wear traditional costumes out of conviction. Now too, traditional costume has also found its place in everyday life, especially among young people, as shown by the somewhat younger tradition of “Lederhosen Thursday”. The female counterpart has been around for a long time, because every year around the day of Saint Notburga (13th September), the “Dirndlgwandl Sunday” is celebrated throughout SalzburgerLand.

What the lederhosen reveal

Connoisseurs only need to take a look at the traditional costume to see from which region the wearer comes. The colour of the lederhosen’s seams, for example, reveals whether the man is a Salzburger or not. Typical for a Salzburg lederhosen is namely a white embroidery, while for the Pinzgau region the lacing at the leg end and the so-called plate seam, which runs in a semicircle over the buttocks is defining. In the past, the lederhosen showed whether the wearer was rich, or even a nobleman. Because the more decorative seams and embroidery it had, the more magnificent it was and thus the more expensive it was. Hand-embroidered lederhosen can be easily recognised by the bead on the embroidery, because the embroidery thread is only pierced through the top layer of the leather and so the embroidery forms a natural elevation.

Hand-knitted tradition

The self-knitted traditional costume socks with their elaborate patterns can also tell connoisseurs a lot about the wearer. In the City of Salzburg, light blue socks are worn with leather wool, and in the Salzkammergut the sock is knitted from green wool. Through specific hand-entwined coded patterns, such as the “brennande Liab” in the calf area, a real costume expert could work out the relationship status of the wearer.

Every girl has her dirndl

The dirndls also show their differing characteristics in SalzburgerLand from region to region, sometimes even from valley to valley. The colour of the bodice or apron, the shape of the neckline or the embroidery also reveal where the ladies home is. And there are also cross-regional dirndls, such as the Salzburger Jägerdirndl (hunter’s dirndl), which was created by huntresses and made for huntresses. Thanks to the chosen colour combinations and the hunting embroidery, wearers of this dirndl are easily recognisable as hunters.

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