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Perchta or Berchta (English: Bertha), also commonly known as Percht and other variations, was once known as a goddess in Southern Germanic paganism in the Alpine countries. Her name means "the bright one" (Old High German beraht, bereht, from a Common Germanic *berhto-, ultimately root-cognate to Latin flagrare "blaze", flamma "flame") and is probably related to the name Berchtentag, meaning Epiphany.

Perchta is often identified as stemming from the same Germanic goddess as Holda and other female figures of German folklore (see Frija-Frigg). According to Jacob Grimm and Lotte Motz, Perchta is Holda's southern cousin or equivalent, as they both share the role as a "guardian of the beasts" and come during the Twelve Days of Christmas when they check on the spinning. In some descriptions, Perchta has two forms, she may appear either as beautiful and white as snow like her name, or elderly and haggard.

Grimm says Perchta or Berchta was known "precisely in those Upper German regions where Holda leaves off, in Swabia, in Alsace, in Switzerland, in Bavaria and Austria."In Bavaria and German Bohemia, Perchta was often represented by St. Lucia.

January 6 the Twelfth Night was once known as her festival day, though it was later replaced by Epiphany in...
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