Garbed in colourful folk costume, and wearing grotesque masks and towering head ornaments, villagers danced and paraded through the tiny streets of St.
GV. Heralds leading procession through village.
CU. Herald on horse.
CU. Another herald on horse.
BACK V.Procession through street.
SV. Old woman with broom (sweeping away winter).
SV. Old woman sweeping behind men wearing head dress representing winter.
CU. Man with grotesque head dress (winter).
CU. Ugly head.
SV. Men dressed representing winter.
CU. Ugly head.
SV. Boys and girls carrying head dress representing Spring.
SV. Boy and girl tilt up to head dress.
CU. Head dress.
CU. Tilt down from head dress to procession.
SV. Carnival figure man with basket.
SV. People following procession.
SV. Man on roof throwing snow to girls at window.
TV. Of procession.
SV. Man dancing in procession.
SV. Procession representing Winter.
SV. Procession representing Spring.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Garbed in colourful folk costume, and wearing grotesque masks and towering head ornaments, villagers danced and paraded through the tiny streets of St. Johann in Pongau, Austrian Tyrol, Jan six in the traditional "Perchten race" ( a Perchten is a sort of fairy).
Said to be of Germanic origin, the "Perchten race" - held once every four years at the time of the Winter solstice - symbolizes the coming of Spring, and is a time of rejoicing for villagers cut off so often by heavy snowfalls in Winter.
First in the procession were the "Heralds of Spring", followed by three magicians mounted on beautiful horses. After them came an old crone who swept away Winter with her broom. Winter is represented in this centuries old tradition by grotesque masks.
Spring and new life are represented by beautiful maidens, and boys wearing towering head pieces decorated with mirrors and other symbolic trappings.
Winter sports visitors joined in the carnival spirit as men dressed as monkeys clambered up poles and on to roofs, where they pelted the spectators with snowballs.