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Almabtrieb (driving cattle down from the Alpine pastures), conclusion of the Alpine pasture grazing season and beginning of winter season (animals kept in sheds), usually between Michaelmas (September 29) and mid-October. The cattle are decorated with branches, ribbons, sequins and mirrors (a custom called "Aufkranzen") and large bells are hung from their necks; in the case of a death in the family or a deadly accident on the pastures, a black ribbon is added to the wreath (called "Klagbuesche"). In some places, this tradition is followed by music and food and drink (e.g. in the towns of Egg and Hohenems in Vorarlberg), a livestock market (in Schwarzenberg, Vorarlberg) and dance events ("Huetertanz" (herdsman's dance), Dienten in the province of Salzburg). This tradition has become less and less popular as the ceremonial conclusion of the season on the Alpine pasture, especially as agriculture has become more and more mechanised and streamlined; the custom is still practiced as a spectacle and tourist attraction in various places.

Further reading#

R. Wolfram, Almbrauchtum, in: Oesterr. Volkskundeatlas, 6th edition, 1979.