“ … the relative unimportance of things female in the Midwinter antics shows us, in fact, the other side of the coin. This is the time of the male principle … For the crops (or babies) to grow, the earth (or female) must be inseminated by the male; and after insemination, one must wait awhile before seeing evidence of new life. Normally the new life appears in the fields in the spring, therefore the insemination must be ritually encouraged earlier–in the winter and/or at the time of plowing and sowing.
… Note that all these maskers and mummers are traditionally men. When female personae are needed for enacting little dramas, men play the parts cross-dressed. This, of course, only adds to the general hilarity, and laughter, like dancing and jumping, was felt to promote life. Evidently male magical power, in the European agrarian traditions, is expressed through masking the men … . ” —- In Austria, on the three Thursday evenings before Christmas, masked youngsters went house to house making great noise with whips and cowbells, knocking on doors and windows to scare away the evil spirits, and crying out, “in with good luck, out with bad luck!” For this service they expected a reward of sweets or nuts. In Salzburg, according to an account around 1800,
… masked youths, decorated with bells, leapt with the help of their staves over ditches and walls during their progress through the valleys at night. When their troop arrives noisily, the lights in the houses must be doused, “to keep the windows intact, and no one dares let himself be seen by them on the way who doesn’t want to subject himself to disagreeable encounters … Many of the disguised lads used their long staves for all kinds of jumping with a strength and agility seldom see amongst the greatest acrobats. One of the boys even touched the ceiling of the room with the soles of his feet.
Tyrolean farmers views this prodigious jumping as crucial: if the "Perchten-runners” didn’t leap about enough in the fields, the crops would fail.
… Jumping like dancing, promotes life. A gloss from a millenium ago already mentions Perchten night, often held on Twelfth Night, the Eve of Epiphany.