The Kirchtagsmichl, known in the local dialect as Kirschtamichl or Kirchtamichl, is a tradition connected with the church festival that is found in South Tyrol’s Pustertal but is supposed to be able to trace its roots to Bavaria in Southern Germany.
The Kirchtagsmichl is a tall tree that is cut down by the Kirchtabuibm (“church festival lads”) and is kept well hidden until the harvest festival so that it cannot be snatched by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages.
On the Saturday it is fetched from the wood, trimmed and erected on the village square. A straw doll wearing lederhosen, a white shirt and hat is fixed to the top of the tree. The straw doll (“Michl”) holds a “Pusterer Krapfen” (a local delicacy) in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.
The harvest festival starts with the procession with a lot of music and the focus on South Tyrol delicacies.
In the afternoon the bravest and strongest youths try to climb up the tree and bring Michl back down safe and sound. In certain places the straw doll is auctioned in public, some of the proceeds going to charity or to the people who organised the Michl event.