To Delight the Children: Our Kids Programme
At Christmastime, there’s something special in store for the kids: they all seem under some kind of magic spell. The unmistakeable scent of baked gingerbread permeates the air, the town lights up with Christmas decorations, and traditional Advent customs in anticipation of the Infant Christ add a sparkle to the children's eyes.
At the Brixen Christmas Market, there’s a varied programme for the youngest visitors and their families, such as kneading dough, making biscuit shapes and then baking them in a traditional wood-burning oven. A variety of Christmas articles are also handcrafted at the fair. Every child has something to do and a small, precious souvenir of the Brixen Christmas Market to take home with them.
Christmas Angel of Brixen
On Saturdays, the Christmas Angel of Brixen can be seen in the old town centre in cathedral square in his traditional robes handing out small gifts, to the delight of children.
Exploring the old town centre of Brixen on a traditional horse-drawn carriage
Discover the old centre of Brixen in a very special way, on a traditional horse-drawn carriage. Wrapped in warm blankets, to the sound of Christmas music against the clip-clopping of the horse’s hooves on the cobblestones. Bask in the magic atmosphere of the old town of Brixen, with its imposing cathedral bell towers.
Details of pre-bookings available shortly.
St. Nicholas and the Krampus parade
On 6th December each year, St. Nicholas heads the parade through the centre of Brixen in a horse-drawn carriage. Accompanying him are a number of cherubs dressed in traditional costumes handing out Christmas gifts to junior visitors.
Did you know?
Bishop Nicholas was also known as the Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Today the Bishop is considered the patron saint of sailors, tradesmen and altar boys. This canonized Bishop is shrouded in legend. It is said that when he was a bishop, he diverted grain meant for the city of Rome to the starving population of the city of Myra, thus saving them from certain death. Curiously, the diversion of the grain to Myra seemingly went unnoticed!
Antics of the wild Krampus in Brixen
In December, at the start of the contemplative Advent season, traditional processions take place all over the Alpine region, following ancient customs. Just before St. Nicholas’s Day, shadowy figures roam through the streets of Brixen.
Their faces blackened, and wearing thick furry costumes, the Krampus appear in the streets to the ringing of bells. Then they are off again! During the Christmas season, these legendary figures can be found in various Alpine regions, starting around 5th December.
Did you know?
The name “Krampus” is derived from the Middle High German “Krampen ('Kralle')”, meaning something lifeless, which has dried up or withered. In the Tyrolean region it is more closely referenced to “Tuifl, Tuifltåg or Tuifltratzen”, derived from the word, “devil” (or “Teufel” in German). However, the "Tuifl" aren’t actually devils, but rather scary beings that date back to pre-Christian times.
Throughout the Habsburg Empire and neighbouring territories, the Krampus tradition remained widespread. However, during the period of the Inquisition, it was banned since no one was allowed to dress up in devilish garb under pain of death. Despite that, this winter tradition still continued in some of the more remote Alpine regions.
At the start of December – accompanied by these scary figures wearing devils and animal masks – St. Nicholas hands out gifts to the “good” children, while the “naughty” ones are chastised by the scary Krampus.