Tradition of initiation into butchery in Salzburg - Metzgersprung
Butcher is one of the oldest and respected professions that involves working with the most desired food. The tools used by butchers, such as knives and cleavers, have made them intimidating figures throughout history. Therefore, they gained the most privileges, joined guilds, and had their own banners.
To qualify for the meat business in Austria, one must complete three years of training at a professional school and pass the exams. However, if a person graduates from an educational institution in Salzburg, he must be initiated into butchers as an additional requirement.
During the initiation ceremony, young men and women recite the butcher's oath before the assembled residents of Salzburg. The head of the guild then asks them questions such as where they are from and their name. The young man replies that he has been diligently learning his craft and now wants to become a real master of the meat business. The head of the guild blesses him and tells him to jump into a barrel of (cold) water, which symbolizes the washing away of all sins. After changing into dry clothes, the graduates demonstrate their strength and pay homage to the guild by rolling and unrolling a weighty butcher's banner.
Once the graduates complete all the procedures, the governor of Salzburg gives them diplomas.
The tradition of the Metzgersprung (butcher's leap) is held annually on the last carnival Sunday in the courtyard of St. Peter's Monastery.