It first begins to feel like Christmas in Appenzell Innerrhoden when blue clouds of incense move through the house, filling it with a wonderful smell.
Christmas, New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night
In some places in the countryside, the incense is burned in an incense-burning pan. Wooden charcoal, incense and palm branches from Palm Sunday are placed in an old pan. Before the children go to bed on Christmas Eve, the father goes through all the rooms in the house, the stall and all around the house and garden with the smoking incense-burning pan, which releases a thick cloud of fragrant smoke as he turns it.
At the same time, the rest of the family gathers together in one room in the house and prays. At one time the 23rd Psalm was considered the appropriate prayer to say during incense burning because it evoked protection against evil and harm. The entire ceremony is repeated on New Year's Eve and the night before Epiphany. Incense burning in pre-Christian times was done to cast out demons, but is now an expression of Christian consecration.