Culture and tradition are celebrated and keenly practised in the Murtal. Whether in cities or rural areas, the annual calendar is filled with festivals and local customs.
Renowned artists, singers and cabaret artists are always stopping by the Region Murtal, delighting audiences with their programmes. In Spielberg, you'll find culture in the town centre; in Judenburg you'll find it at the events centre; and in Knittelfeld at the culture house, which hosts some great events. Of course, you can also enjoy the open-air concerts here: stars such as ACDC, the Rolling Stones and John Bon Jovi have previously pulled out all the stops in the Murtal.
The big-name events at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg always captivate with a great supporting programme. The site is transformed into a concert stage and motorsport fans celebrate with greats such as Andreas Gabalier, Wanda, The BossHoss and many others. A special kind of theatre is on offer at the JuThe in Judenburg (www.juthe.at) and the THEO Oberzeiring (www.theo.at), which also puts on outdoor productions in the summer. Give your laughter muscles a workout at the performances, while going on an emotional rollercoaster ride at the same time.
On balmy summer evenings, the party can really get going in the Murtal. Music nights, gourmet markets, garden festivals, etc. invite you to wind down or crank things up. It's tradition to offer a broad programme of events, all hotly anticipated and eagerly awaited.
Particularly popular among young and old alike is the Marktfest (Market Festival) in Maria Buch on 15 August, when the "Große Frauentag" (Great Day of St. Mary) is held. The ceremony opens devoutly with a mass at the beautiful pilgrimage church, before the entire village becomes one big marketplace. Grocers and farmers offer their wares, and the atmosphere gets jollier by the hour. A hearty celebration takes place in the "Festzelt" (party tent).
A wonderful rural tradition is celebrated at the end of the alpine pasture season in September. At the annual "Almabtrieb" (cattle drive), the cattle are bedecked with pretty meadow flowers and large bells, and, as the name suggests, driven back down the alpine pastures and into the valley. This custom is a way for the herdsmen and dairymen to give thanks that their animals are safely back in their stalls. It's a merry festivity, with the people of the Murtal parading their beautiful costumes and folk dancing the "Schuhplattler". A glass or two of beer may also be clinked.
The "Milchfest" (Milk Festival) is often celebrated alongside the cattle drive, in honour of this "white nectar". You'll find all sorts of milk specialities on offer, and can also witness the Milk Queen being crowned with her two princesses.
When the cow bells fall silent in late autumn or early winter, you'll still hear a loud chiming, tinkling and clanging in the Murtal. The goddess Perchta appears in her two forms (beautiful and haggard) to make trouble and drive away evil spirits respectively. The eye-catching masks are showcased during the "Perchta parades", which strike fear into many a heart with fire shows and cracking whips. And as the end of the year approaches, you can get into the peaceful, merry Christmas spirit at the various Christmas markets (link to Advent page in the Murtal).
Many of the things we experience in everyday life are well worth seeing from a different perspective. Numerous museums and exhibitions have teamed up as the "Murtal Cultural Treasures" to better inform you about their services and offerings.
Life in the Murtal in the heart of Styria is still very much characterised by Christian customs and farming traditions. Numerous such events thus accompany us all year round.
Of course, many customs in the Murtal are also well-known throughout the rest of Styria. Others, however, are largely specific to this region ‒ such as the Pestkerze Procession at the Church of St. Benedict, the Gones Race in St. Margarethen and the "Weisenbläsertreffen" (brass band gathering) at the Sommerthörl pass.
Our year is filled with lots of customs ‒ perhaps you'll encounter one or two that you recognise from home too.