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Krampus: the other Christmas dude


Staff member

Krampus - The Other Visitor on December 25th

Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened child away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner. (Source: Wikipedia)

"Krampus is a mythical creature from Eastern European folklore especially known in Austria and Hungary. Krampus accompanies St. Nicolaus during Christmas. Krampus warns and punishes the bad children, in contrast to St. Nick who rewards and gives gifts to good children. Krampus originates from the old high German word for "claw" (krampen). This is interesting due to phonetical similarity to Santa Claus (claws). Krampus is generally portrayed as an incubus, a male demon.

Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, especially on December 5. They roam the streets, clanging bells and rattling rusty chains. Krampus is often depicted with shackled chains between his arms like handcuffs. He also carries a birch rod for corporal punishment. This is often depicted in imagery with young girls.

Another common image is Krampus carrying off bad children in a basket on his way to dump them into hell. Could this be the origin of the saying, “to hell in a hand basket?” Sheep skins, long horns, a basket, chains, and birch rods are common imagery for Krampus. Krampus is a demon from hell. He should have the feeling of something possessed and unnatural, something in an abnormal body that it is not used to. "
Stop Bill C-10


TRIBE Member
A few years ago, my wife D & I were walking around the pedestrian shopping/town square area in Munich at the height of the Krampus season; a number of Krampus were out, doing their thing. Not familiar w/ the tradition, & feeling pretty shmammered from mulled wine on offer by vendors in the area, I crossed paths w/ one of these doods. Fucker smacked me across the thighs w/ a swatch of birch sticks. I'm like "Did that just happen? That fucking hurts. I didn't give him permission to smack me. WTF?!" Being a little (!) slow from the wine, this thought process took awhile. By the time I thought "I'm gonna jump that fucker & give him what for", he was a good 20 feet past me. D talked some sense into me tho, pointing out that when the police arrive, I have no command of the German language, & that it likely won't end well for me if I act on what, by now, is a mix of rage & incredulity over what just happened. Krampus harshed my buzz; the rest of the evening, I was kinda fixated on laying a beat down on that fucker. Moral of the story: give them a wide berth if you see one (or get your revenge in first if you don't!).


TRIBE Member
Zwarte Piet - "Black Peter" - is a character from the Netherlands and is another companion of Saint Nicholas.


Stay classy, Holland.


Staff member

Happy Krampusnacht!

Dec 5th is Krampusnacht, which takes place on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day.

In Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men, and witches to participate in Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Intoxicated and bearing torches, costumed devils caper and carouse through the streets terrifying child and adult alike.

The European practice of mummery during the winter solstice season can be traced back tens of thousands of years. Villagers across the continent dress up as animals, wild-men and mythic figures to parade and perform humorous plays. This ancient guising and masking tradition continues to this day as the primary source for our modern Halloween with its costumes, trick-or-treat, and pagan symbolism. Among the most common figures in these folk rituals were Old Man Winter and the horned Goat-Man.

Krampus Through the Ages;

2000 BCEEnkidu appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the earliest known appearance of a 'Wild Man' in literature.
600 BCE In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, King Nebuchadnezzar is punished by God for his pride when he is turned into a hairy beast.
217 BCE Saturnalia is introduced as a winter celebration in Rome, marked by gift giving, wild parties, and a reversal of the normal social roles of slave and master.
4th Century CEDue to Roman influence, many Germanic tribes, such as the Goths and Vandals, convert to Christianity; their pagan traditions survive in small villages in the Alps where the Church cannot penetrate.
1250 CE King's Mirror, a Norwegian text, features a Wild Man character who is described as being covered in hair.
17th Century CE 'Knecht Rupert' appears as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession.
1810 CE The Brothers Grimm began publishing stories of Germanic folktales, marking a resurgence in Germanic pagan folklore.
Early 19th Century CE Holiday postcards from Austria, Germany, and other parts of Europe feature holiday greetings Krampus and other companions of St. Nicholas.
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