Have you been naughty or nice? If you have been naughty you’d better watch out! In punishment for your nasty behavior, your holiday season just may be stained with the grimy patina of that famous Christmas devil known as… (drum roll please)
Beware tonight, December 5th, as he comes to visit!
Who is Krampus, you ask? He is, of course, the goat-footed companion of Saint Nicholas. Together they work in a good cop/ bad cop fashion to reward and punish children (and maybe adults?) for kind as well as naughty deeds. The benevolent will receive candy and gifts. The not-so-nice will receive coal and may get carried off to hell in Krampus’ sack.
Originating in Germanic mythology, Krampus celebrations have long been part of Bavarian traditions. For Krampuskarten (Krampus cards), greeting cards are exchanged with the heading Gruss vom Krampus (Greetings from Krampus). The cards often feature humorous poems and Krampus himself looming menacingly over frightened children.
For Krampuslauf (Krampus Run), men wear scary-looking horned masks and run through town terrorizing people. These villains have been known to kidnap a Fraulein or two while they are at it, so ladies beware!
As a dark alternative to Saint Nicholas Day, Krampusnacht is quickly gaining popularity in many parts of the world, including the US. Sound intriguing? If so, you might want to initiate a Krampus celebration of your own. It would be great fun, a chance to wear costumes and conduct all kinds of irreverent activities! (Because Halloween is long past and we can never get enough of this stuff, right?)
Do you celebrate this weird festival? Let me know what you think of it.
To learn more about Krampus, his history and his growing fan base, please watch the following (very short) documentary. (Running time about 7 minutes.)
Hope you enjoy it, and Happy Krampusnacht!