Ante pante at Candlemas.

An ancient custom known as “carrying little churches” is still kept up in Eisenkappl/ Želesna Kapla. On the evening before Candlemas the children build little churches out of coloured paper and the following day they place these in the River Vellach, where they float down the valley like little dots of light while the children chant a curious song.

Kirchleintragen in Bad Eisenkappel
Region Klopeiner See - Südkärnten

When you listen to this more closely it runs “Ante pante populore, kocla vrate cvilijore”. The first part is a corruption of the Latin “Ante faciem omnium popolorum” (Before the face of all peoples), and the second part is Slovenian and roughly means “Kocelj’s door creaks”.

This sweet custom arose in the Middle Ages, when after heavy rainfall the Vellach burst its banks and flooded the valley. In their desperation the inhabitants each threw a miniature church lit by a candle into the raging river and lo and behold, the flood waters receded.

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