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Sacred Heart fires

Summer | Tip for families | Summer highlights | Dolomites

A special South Tyrolean tradition

Sacred Heart Sunday

South Tyrol has a fiery passion for its traditions – in the truest sense of the word: Have you heard of the custom of lighting Sacred Heart fires?

We have a unique tip for when you visit the Dolomites on your holidays in summer: the Sacred Heart fires that are lit on the Sunday of the same name. Sacred Heart Sunday always falls on the third Sunday after Whitsun, which this year is 18 June 2023. The custom of lighting the fires can be traced back to the old tradition of the solstice fires, which has existed since the 12th century but was reinterpreted in the 18th century. When Napoleon’s troops marched on the area in 1796, the Tyroleans led by Andreas Hofer pledged themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in return for being led safely through danger – and the outnumbered Tyroleans miraculously won the battles. The fires are intended to renew the vow made before the Bergisel battle, and the traditional song “Auf zum Schwur” (To the oath) is sung. In the evening, once darkness falls, the bright lights of the fires can be seen shining in various artistically arranged shapes on the mountain peaks, ridges, and in high forest clearings.

Petra Mutschlechner with family
Bad Ratzes ****

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