Scheibenschlagen - Disk flinging

In the Val Venosta valley the “Scheibenschlagen” is still celebrated - this old rite marks the end of the carnival period.

“Scheibenschlagen” literally means “launching of disks” referring to the pine wood disks which are dedicated to a person, set on fire and then thrown into the valley followed by good wishes. Before this interesting activity a prayer is said - traditionally the thrower gets an Easter egg. The above mentioned disks are, by the way, handmade and have a diameter of approx. 25 cm.

Disk flinging, an ancient fire custom, is widespread throughout Central Europe. Already in the 11th century, the “Scheibenschlagen” was mentioned for the first time in written documents, when an outbuilding of the Lorsch Abbey in Hessen was accidentally set on fire by a burning disk. In Austria, however, the “Scheibenschlagen” was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015.

Traditional date for this event in the villages from Silandro upwards is the first Sunday in Lent, after Ash Wednesday. The mentioned Sunday is known by locals as Sparks Sunday (and the disks are the spark fires) or Cheese Sunday (”Kassunnti” in local dialect).

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