What are the rough nights? – Rituals, meaning and more

Was sind die Rauhnächte? – Rituale, Bedeutung und mehr

The Rauhnächte are a deeply rooted part of European culture and mysticism. Between the years, when the days are shortest and nights are longest, it was believed that the line between our world and the afterlife was particularly thin. This special time is filled with rituals, symbolism and ancient beliefs.

Meaning of the rough nights:

Time outside of time: The Rauhnächte are often referred to as “time outside of time”. It is said that these days the world stands still and the veils between worlds are thinner. This means that access to the other world, spirits and ancestors is easier during this time.
Review and realignment: This time is often used to reflect on the past year and formulate resolutions for the coming year.
Rituals and customs of the Rauhnächte:

Oracles and future interpretation:

In many traditions, the Rauhnächte are viewed as particularly favorable for oracles and future interpretation. During this time you try to receive hints or messages for the coming year.


Incense rituals: This is one of the central rituals of the Rauhnächte. Various herbs, resins and woods are used to cleanse the house and residents of negative energies. Smoking is often done in every corner of the house, moving counterclockwise to drive away evil spirits and make room for positive energies.

Dream interpretation:

Dreams and their interpretation: It is believed that the dreams one has during the rough nights can provide clues about the coming year. Many people keep a dream diary during this time in order to record their experiences and later interpret them.

Noise and mask parades:

Masked parades and noise rituals: Processions often take place in which participants are masked and make noise to drive away evil spirits. These loud, energetic processions symbolize the battle between light and darkness.

Special dishes:

Special food and drinks: There are often traditional dishes or pastries for each of the twelve rough nights. These are shared among family or friends to celebrate community and attract prosperity for the coming year.


The Rauhnächte are a fascinating mix of ancient culture, superstitions and rituals that mark the transition from one year to the next. In this magical time when worlds collide, there are numerous traditions and customs that serve to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. It is a time of reflection, letting go and renewal that can still inspire us today. It's worth exploring these ancient customs and perhaps incorporating some of them into our modern celebrations.

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