Almabtrieb is a yearly event that dates back to the Middle High Age. It’s a festive tradition that has remained in all Alpine regions. Towards the tail end of summer, the cows and bulls that feed on the lush mountain pastures are transported down into the valley and back to their winter quarters in a festive and fun manner. Almabtrieb is a long-standing tradition that is enjoyed by both locals and visitors. In this post, we will try to paint the picture of the event in words as much as we can. However, you really have to experience the festival to understand the fun and excitement that come with it.
The Colorful Display in summer
The arrival of the cattle is announced through the sound of bells. Onlookers would usually stand by the path to enjoy the colorful treat. The well-fed and beautifully decorated cattle will make their way down the mountain pastures in a beautiful procession and back to the valley. Everyone, including the young and old, locals and visitor, enjoy the celebration. As a matter of fact, visitors travel from far and wide to participate in the festival. As the brass band plays on, the hospitable beer tents begin to fill up. If you are visiting, you will enjoy the mouthwatering delicacies of the Bavarian and you can watch the regional costume associations as they showcase their exceptional skills.
The Almabtrieb Procession
The herd makes their descent from the mountain through the pastures of Fischunkelalm and Saletalm to the valley across the water. The herders gather the cows and bulls on the shore and transport them through motorized cargo boat, popularly called Landaus. When the cattle get back to dry land safe and sound, they are decorated with bloomy wreaths and guided into the village amidst joyous sounds.
The Return of the Cattle
The Almabtrieb is a foremost attraction in Bavarian calendar of traditions and customs. The event attracts people of all colors and races. At the return of the cattle to the valley from the mountain, the herd splits up and each animal is returned to the owner.
An important aspect of this festival is the Kranzrind, known as Crown Cow. The selected animal leads the herd of cattle and it’s adorned with an elaborate crown. According to the tradition, the loud bells attached to the necks of the animals are meant to bring them safely back to the valley and protect them from antagonistic demons.