Corpus Christi (German term: Fronleichnam; Middle High German: "vronlicham" = Body of the Lord), Catholic feast of the Eucharist (since 1264) celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Whitsun. Corpus Christi was celebrated in Tirol and in Styria before 1285, in Salzburg before 1352 and in Vienna before 1334. In the Corpus Christi processions common on this holiday, the Eucharist is carried around in the monstrance under a "heaven" (baldaquin on four posts) along the decorated procession route to four altars set up outdoors. In West Styria (e.g. Deutschlandsberg) flowers line the procession route; lake processions are held on Lake Traunsee and Lake Hallstatt (Upper Austria) reminiscent of the magnificent decorations of Corpus Christi processions during the Counter-Reformation (introduced in Traunkirchen in 1632 by the Jesuits). In Lungau (Zederhaus, Muhr) and Pongau (Bischofshofen, Huettau, Pfarrwerfen, Werfenweng) in the province of Salzburg, as well as in Rohr im Gebirge (Lower Austria) "Prangstangen", poles tastefully decorated with flower garlands, approximately 5 m high and weighing 30 kg, are also included in the procession. "Himmelbrotschutzen" celebrations are held on the Salzach near Oberndorf (in the province of Salzburg), where four blessed (but not consecrated) wafers are tossed into the water. "Antlassritte" ("Antlass" = release, originally referred to the indulgences granted by the Church on Maundy Thursday, later used to refer to the feast of Corpus Christi, which always falls on a Thursday) are held in Tirol in the Brixen/Bressanone valley (Brixen/Bressanone im Thale, Kirchberg, Westendorf). In the Middle Ages religious dramas ("Corpus Christi dramas") were performed. Individual theatre troupes travelling by waggon or on foot acted out biblical scenes. The material presented in Corpus Christi plays encompassed a longer period of time than the material presented in the Passion plays at Easter. Such plays enjoyed the height of their popularity in the Baroque era, and were performed until around the mid-18th century.
Literature#H. Fielhauer, Die Frohnleichnam-Stangen in Rohr im Gebirge, in: Jahrbuch fuer Landeskunde von Niederoesterreich, 1964; idem, Frohnleichnam-Stangen in Rohr im Gebirge, 1969 (film by OeWF).