Festive tradition or Bah Humbug? The Krampus is a mythological creature that appears in Alpine folklore and traditions. You may be asking yourself right now: “Who, or what, the hell is Krampus?” Well, “hell” is a pretty good starting place to explain…
A Christmas devil?
The Krampus looks like what one would imagine a devil or demon straight out of hell to look like: a horned head, black and red face, furry body and carrying a chain and birch. In many depictions he resembles a type of devilish goat or satyr.
Good versus Bad
The mythological creature is often shown as a companion of Santa, or Saint Nicholas as he is known in Alpine countries. While Saint Nicholas brings gifts to good children on the 6th of December, traditionally consisting of bags stuffed with fruit and nuts or some smaller toys, the Krampus punishes naughty children by carrying them away in a basket on his back.
Nowadays, lots of young men dress up as Krampus in parts of Germany and Austria to take part in “Krampus runs”. They roam the streets in groups, showing their animalistic side by trying to frighten children and young women alike. Their grim costumes often include wooden masks with horns, sheep or goat skins, bells, chains and birch rods, which they lash out with in a playful manner.
So, what’s it going to be for you this advent season? Have you been good or bad?
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