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This is an ancient tradition in Bavaria and many Alpine regions: young men (nowadays women, too) dress up as scary, creepy monsters with heavy, wooden masks. They are called "Perchtn" or "Perchten" and go from house to house, from farm to farm. They dance old dances, tell stories and sayings while they go and make an unbelievable noise with their drums, rattles and (cow) bells. This should chase away evil spirits from house and home. Every mask symbolizes a different character: the main is the "Percht" or "Berchta" who goes from house to house with her huge crowd of other characters. This happenes during the months of December and January
The "Percht" is - according to ethnic study reseachers -a pagan goddess, related to an unknown celtic goddess, maybe related to the famous "Frau Holle" ("Mother Hulda ).
The Percht punishes laziness but rewards dilligence and helpfulness. She expects that housework is at standstill between the 23rd of December and the 6th of January...