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The Samson

Der Tamsweger Samson

Samson and his two companions, two large-headed dwarfs, are all that remains of erstwhile long processions at Corpus Christi, in which figures from biblical history as well as from folk-legends were paraded through the streets. These processions reached their highest level of popularity and display in the high Baroque period during the eighteenth century. Towards the end of this century they were banned by the church because they were tending to degenerate into lengthy spectacles. The public in Tamsweg then separated these processions from the religious celebrations and since the Samson is paraded on the evening of the day before the procession and on the afternoon of the day of the procession. He is also to be seen on special occasions and during the Forest Festival.

The Samson of Tamsweg

The Tamsweg Samson is first mentioned in documents going back to 1653. It must be assumed that this giant figure derives from much older mythical or symbolic giant figures, that used to be carried around by ancient European peoples when ceremoniously marking out their land.

The Tamsweg Samson is 6.2m high and weighs 105 kg. He is carried by one man who is able to balance the weight of the figure on his shoulders by means of a support frame in the interior of the hollow body.

Samson is an imposing sight especially for children, when he grandly moves through the narrow streets of Tamsweg and when the pair of dwarfs twirl around him.

The Tamsweg Samson can be visited throughout  the whole year at the Local History Museum (Heimatmuseum).