© Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Andreas Haller

Bonfires in the Montafon

Funkensonntag [Bonfire Sunday] is an ancient spring custom – full of symbolism and originating in pre-Christian times.

One of the oldest customs of the valley is torch burning. On so-called Funkensonntag, the first Sunday after Fasnacht [carnival], an artistically layered wooden tower of up to 30 metres tall is lit. With the burning of the flame-witch and the torch swinging on the mountain and in the valley, we drive out the demons of winter and greet the light – the last remnant of ancient sun worship.

Torch burning

The assembly of the bonfire requires a lot of work – an average of 700 to 800 hours of work. The carefully layered wood pile is filled with brushwood, straw and old Christmas trees. On the bonfire, the workers assemble the bonfire pine on which the flame-witch sits. The witch filled with gunpowder is expected to ward off the winter with a loud bang.

Bonfire guard
During the night of the Sunday, a bonfire guard ensures that the wooden construction is not lit prematurely by the boys from the neighbouring villages. However, this traditional prank is more than just a trivial offence and is even liable to prosecution today.

At nightfall the bonfire is finally lit under the watchful eyes of the village inhabitants. If the bonfire falls before the witch explodes, it is generally considered to be a bad sign. In such cases, the bonfire guild buries the witch on the following Sunday as part of a ceremony.

Did you know that...

target shooting in Gortipohl was declared intangible UNESCO heritage?

Scheibenschießen Gortipohl | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Andreas Haller

“Disc flinging is a big event in the village every year.”

A piece of Montafon cultural history is intangible UNESCO heritage

Disc flinging in Gortipohl is unique in the Montafon. The tradition was passed on from generation to generation and cherished. The origins of this initially pagan ritual go back hundreds of years. Today, disc flinging is an integral component of social life in the area and has also been listed in the register of national UNESCO heritage since June 2016.

More information

The bonfire speciality

The bonfire includes Funka-Küachli, the day is not called Küachli-Sonntig for no reason.

Erich Morscher | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Patrick Säly

“To perfect the sweet Funka-Küachli, constantly add hot fat or carefully tilt the pan.”

Funka-Küachli recipe

Ingredients for eight persons

  • 1,000 g wheat flour, type 700
  • 80 g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
  • 80 g butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 g yeast
  • 0.5 l milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 cl rum
  • The juice and peels of one lemon
Recipe to print out (in German)

Setting up the bonfire

Montafon Weather

St. Anton im Montafon
St. Gallenkirch-Gortipohl


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Service centre Montafon | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Nona Büchele