Local traditions and culture
If you are interested in local traditions and culture, either as a scholar or for passion, Sauris will amaze you and will definitely attract your attention. The difficulty in accessing the area, the harshness of the area and the presence of a German-speaking population have nurtured the myth of a legendary community, in which the environment, the language and the traditions have remained intact for centuries.
Today in Sauris, besides Italian and Friulian an ancient and rather particular language is spoken: this is a German dialect, belonging to the group of languages spoken in the south Bavarian area. This is very similar to the Carinthian and Tyrolean dialects.
Many habits of the Sauris population are the result of a fascinating combination of several cultures, above all those of a German and Carnic origin that have contributed to the unique identity of the community.
The appearance of the old buildings, especially those that have not been restructured, still evidently recall those in the Austrian valleys: thick stone earth-retaining walls on ground floor and a structure made of interlocking logs (blockbau) on the upper floors.
Only over the past two centuries have constructions with walls entirely made of stone have been built, as they are considered to be more solid and safe, protecting against fire.
The roofs of the buildings in the historic centres are covered with beech wood shingles, that give a distinctive character to the entire hamlet.
Admire the aesthetic effect and observe the solidity and peculiar nature of the buildings.
During the period between Christmas and Epiphany the children’s collection of augural alms takes place (Pistelea on the day of the Holy Innocente, ‘s Naijohr on the first day of the year) and the “giro della stella” (Tour of the Star). This latter event is carried out by a group of youths and adults who go around the town with a coloured, illuminated star, singing Christmas carols (The Songs of the Star, Stearnliedlan) in Ancient German, Italian and Latin.
During the Holy Week the children walk around the town with their noisy “raganelle” (rattles), the loud noise of these instruments replaces the sound of bells.
The religious festivals dedicated to the Virgin Mary as well as those of the Patron Saints are particularly heartfelt, during which the statue is carried in procession.
In these and other religious festivals ritual blessings are carried out (water, salt and fruit at Epiphany, bread at Easter and the blessed bouquet of flowers to commemorate Our Lady’s date of birth).
These events are fantastic, we recommend you attend at least one of them!
Carnival in Sauris has preserved certain archaic aspects and rituals, common with other carnivals celebrated in the Alpine arc and still arouses a certain appeal today.
The character that starts the masquerade is Rölar, dressed in black with his face covered in soot; he goes round the town shaking noisy cowbells (röln) hanging from his belt to inform the public that the dances are about to begin.
The other main character is Kheirar who, brandishing a large broom, enters the houses and sweeps the floor so as to allow the couples of masqueraders to enter.
A unique, entertaining performance, take part and it will surely be an event you will never forget!