Traditions are important elements of our cultural heritage. Styrian folk culture groups and societies embrace these traditions; they pass them on, revive them and approach them from new perspectives. There is constant interaction between intangible and tangible cultural heritage. Some of the traditions, social rituals and celebrations, performing arts and craftsmanship are so outstanding that they have been listed and documented in the UNESCO Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.
Traditional events and festivals would be inconceivable without music. Music brings people together - across generations, cultures and regions. In Styria, there are some 400 music societies and bands with around 19,500 active musicians. Add to this the 540 choirs and vocal groups with their 10,000 singers. They all shape the culture life of Styria and beyond with their songs, instruments, and voices.
Umbrella organisations, such as the Styrian brass band association Steirischer Blasmusikverband and the choir association Chorverband Steiermark, societies such as Steirisches Volksliedwerk and the Steirische Sänger- und Musikantentreffen, the brass music information centre "Blasmusikinformations-zentrum" (BLIZ) and the brass music museums in Oberwölz and Ratten are dedicated to cultivating and handing down musical values that are typical of a region. With their commitment, they make valuable contributions to the cultural diversity of Styria. Singing traditional songs also means that regional vernacular and dialects are handed down; the input of the association of Styrian regional poets plays an important role in this context.
When there is music and song, there is also dance. There is no traditional festivity or celebration without folk dances; they are deeply rooted in traditional customs and can be found in virtually all cultures as a form of expression.
The traditional dress, the typical regional costume, is another characteristic element of the regional culture and identity.
Groups, associations and societies play a key role in keeping traditions and customs alive. The folk dance working group "Volkstanz Steiermark" and the Styrian costume association "Landestrachtenverband", their regional groups, and 70 unions and clubs with as many as 12,500 members - some 10% of them children and young people - safeguard the future of folk dance, "Schuhplatteln", music, singing, whip cracking, theatre, miners' traditions, craftsmanship, customs, and traditions.
All of these organisations offer a wide range of basic and advanced courses for members, interested people, children and young people. Work with up-and-coming talents is of particular importance. The cooperation with schools, especially music schools, is a central element of the cultural work of many groups and associations.