Perchtenläufe

During the twelve nights of Christmas, Perchta – the Luminous One, Maiden of the Wagon and Plow, Snow Queen, Iron-Nosed, Guardian of the Beasts and Mother of Spirits, She Who Spins – leads her host of spirits, pixies, ghostly children, beasts, and fiends through the nighttime streets of Alpine villages. With her entourage of schiachperchten and schönperchten, she chastises the shiftless and grants boons to the hardworking.

  • Perchta 2018

    Perchta, the Shining One, is the Lady of the Beasts, an incarnation of the goddess Holda. She, too, leads the Wild Hunt, and is the protectress of wild animals, and appears to mortals as either a white-clad, white-skinned, white-haired beauty, or as a brutish, bestial hag. She is called Berhte Mit Dem Fuoze; one of her feet is shaped like a beast’s, which gives away her superhuman nature no matter how she is disguised. She is also called Perchta the Belly-Slitter, for, at Yuletide, she castigates the wicked, slovenly, and idle, and rewards those that are generous, good-natured, and kind. The Belly-Slitter enforced community taboos, punishing those that spun during holy days and those who failed to partake in sacred feasts, thus jeopardizing the next year’s harvest. Her punishments can be a bit over-the-top, though: they include disemboweling the transgressor and filling the empty cavity with refuse.

    Her scent is a blend of wild musk, snow, and alpine flora: Nigritella lithopolitanica, balsam fir, aconite, crocus, touch-me-not, edelweiss, iced sugar crystals, Iris variegate, and violet.

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  • Schiachperchten

    The Brutal Ones: dark chocolate, black pepper, and green cardamom.

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  • Schönperchten

    The Shining Ones: snow-spattered lavender, bourbon vanilla, white mint, and white amber.

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