Following an old tradition, locals in the farmhouses of the Salzburger Saalachtal “go smoking”...
... filling incense burners with frankincense and herbs.
The frankincense resin is added to the glowing embers, already covered by a thin layer of ash.
Only then does he scatter the chopped herbs from the herb bundle into the burner, and before long smoke and the scent of Christmas begins to fill the room. Hans Haider covers the smoke with his hat to ward off headaches in the coming year, and then off he goes through the entire Lutzbauer property. Hans Haider leads the procession, followed by Barbara and the children. The smoking even continues in the adjacent livestock building. After all, even the cattle should be protected against any misfortune in the coming year. This ritual is repeated on the other Rauchnacht celebration nights, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany, to cleanse the house and receive blessings for the coming year.
The Lutzbauer farmers have been heavily involved in the smoking tradition since moving to the farm in 2000. Barbara Haider says, “When we moved into the old farm, parts of which date back to the 15th century, we noticed a bad atmosphere in the house. A friend advised us to smoke out the house. We followed this advice and smoked the house several times with sage and frankincense. We soon noticed a change and really started to feel at home on the farm. The success we experienced in our own home has led us to delve into the tradition of smoking.”
Smoking to combat “bad air”
Smoking is not just a tradition reserved for the Rauchnacht festival. If there is a nervous vibe, “bad air” is truly perceptible or if there is tension in the atmosphere from an approaching storm, you can grab your incense burner and follow the old tradition of purifying the air with frankincense and herbs. “The frankincense acts as a disinfectant, and has a refreshing and mood-lifting effect. The St John’s wort also has a positive effect on the mind and the juniper smoke casts out evil,” explains the lady of the farm, demonstrating her vast herbal knowledge.
Herbal life at the Lutzbauer farm
A number of herbal products from the farm’s own herb garden are available from the herb farm at the Lutzbauer farm. During the summer months, Barbara and Hans Haider organise weekly herb walks along the medicinal herb paths for adults and children. During a seminar, learn about the production of tinctures and ointments, as well as all about practice of smoking with domestic resins according to ancient tradition used by many farmhouses in the Salzburger Saalachtal and of course about the herbs themselves