Back home to the stables - the tradition of cattle driving in Brixental Valley
The alpine festivals in Brixental Valley
What you should know about the cattle driving!
The cows - but often also sheep, goats and horses - have spent the summer on the alpine meadows of Brixental Valley together with the herdsmen and stockmen. The cattle driving festival is thus the thanksgiving when the cattle returns back hoe to the stables in good health. Only when all animals from one alpine pasture return home in good health from the alpine summer will they be adorned for the journey back home into the valley. Wreaths made from fir sprigs, colourful ribbons, bells, mirrors and alpine flowers then adorn the cows. If, however, there is an accident or death back home in the valley, the cows will not wear any decorations or only a mourning band. This consists of a black ribbon. Having arrived in the valley, the cows and, first and foremost, the cattlemen are duly honoured. The arrival of the animals is celebrated with music and various events, as well as culinary treats from the region. Local farmers give an insight into the strenuous life on the mountains.
Depending on the number of animals cared for by the Alpine herdsmen though the summer, the loving beautification can take up to five hours. The individual cattle drives take place at different times. This is heavily dependent on the weather. The cows are usually further adorned with bells around their necks. The cows have, depending on rank, bells with different sounds. During the cattle drive, the so-called "wreath-cow", adorned in particularly splendid headgear, marches in the lead. Cows and yearlings follow and at the end the calves scramble for position. Adorning the alpine cattle with wreaths was first mentioned in documents in a Pustertal inventory in 1746. But adorning the alpine cattle is likely to date back much farther. The chimes of their bells was meant to chase away hostile demons on the route back down into the valley. The driving down of adorned cows from the alpine pastures into the valley is a popular spectacle with many bystanders and tourists. Even if cows may be termed dumb by people, they know exactly what is going on when the big bell is hung around their neck. It's back down into the valley, and no one needs to show them the way.