Christmas is the time of traditions and in the Tyrolean town of Leogang there is a very special one to see: the Bachlschneid. The Bachlschneid is held there on the last Friday before Christmas.
What is the Bachlschneid?
It is an old custom – though no one knows exactly the date of its origin – and it is still practised today thanks to three old blacksmiths: The Bachlschneid, originally held on 24 December, has only changed the day of the traditional celebration; it is now held on the Friday before Christmas at the old Hüttschmiede in Leogang. We visited the Bachlschneid during our holiday at the TUI BLUE Fieberbrunn and tried to capture the unique atmosphere in pictures.
Once a year, an old tradition is kept alive in the Leogang district of Hütten: At the end of Advent, the Bachlschneid is held in the old Hüttschmiede. Originally held on Christmas Eve, the last Friday before the festival is now the day of the Bachlschneid.
Christmas Eve was once a fasting day when nothing was to be eaten until sunset. A traditional chore on this day was the sharpening of knives and kitchen utensils. They were to be brought into the best condition before the Christmas holidays. But it is also supposed to bring luck for the coming year if the knives are sharpened on this day, they say in Leogang, where on the day of the Bachlschneid, of course, the visitors’ knives also get the right sharpening.
Bachlschneid in the old days: reward for the grinder
In days gone by, all the knives in a household were sharpened, usually on the banks of a mountain stream that drove the grinding wheel. If the grinder then came home frozen through, he was served Bachlkoch, a rich dish of flour, eggs, milk and lots of honey. You can find a recipe here (in German).
Today, the Bachlkoch is mainly a treat for children. For adults, the midday meal usually consists of Kletzenbrot and a speciality of the Pinzgau and Pongau, the “Blaukas“. Especially at Christmas time, this was particularly important to have a good cutting edge to be able to slice the Kletznbrot, which often became too hard, or to slice the Bachi Speck (whole piece of bacon) wafer-thin.
Bachlschneid: Who makes it?
The origin of the place where Bachlschneid is held today, however, is well known: The old forge stands in the Leogang district of Hütten. First mentioned in 1599, the Hüttschmiede was still in operation until the middle of the 20th century.
Thanks to three old blacksmiths, the forge is still in operation today, with regular tours and demonstrations offered during the summer months.
“Bring your knives, the blacksmiths will help you to a new extensive cutting for the whole year. We’ll chat about customs over mulled wine and Kletzenbrot,” suggest the old blacksmiths who continue to practise the craft at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum. On the last Friday before Christmas, visitors can watch the blacksmiths at work from 1 pm over mulled wine, tea and Kletznbrot.
Info about the hut forge Leogang
Bergbau- & Gotikmuseum
Leogang A-5771 Leogang