Krampus: A Scary Christmas Tradition
November 11, 2020 • Claire Bench & Sandi Horan • Spooky Cat Press
Who is Krampus?
The Krampus, a creature that combines demon and goat, is the scary antithesis to Saint Nicholas. While St. Nick rewards children for their good behavior, Krampus is tasked with punishing all the naughty ones. Krampus often appears with hooves, horns, fangs, and thick fur covering his body. His long tongue can be used to lasso misbehaving children, pulling them into the handy barrel he wears on his back, and taking them for further retribution. In extreme cases, Krampus would even drag disobedient children to the pits of hell. The bundle of birch branches Krampus carries is for striking children and his chains serve a duo purpose - one to symbolize that he is bound to Hell, the other is simply to rattle for more scares!
Why Do People Love Krampus?
At Spooky Cat, we love things that are dark and outcasted. Contrary to the traditional, idealized version of Christmas, Krampus brings a darker edge and an anti-hero to rally after Halloween. Anyone with a sense of dark humor can appreciate the cheekiness of Krampus folk art. He is both frightening and hilarious and growing in popularity in the United States as a Christmas symbol. That’s why we are thrilled about our Krampus greeting cards, Krampus gift wrap, Krampus t-shirts, and so much more.
Everyone needs a nemesis and Krampus gives St. Nick just that.
What is the Origin of Krampus?
Krampus originates in Austrian folklore as a tool to frighten children into behaving. This Christmas monster takes the naughty list to another level! Originally, Krampus was a figure recognized in pagan culture and a symbol of the winter solstice. He was thought to be the son of Hel, the Norse god of the underworld. Eventually, Krampus became a counterpart to Saint Nicholas and a symbol of Christmastime in his own right. December 5th, a day before Saint Nicholas arrives in many parts of Europe, is Krampusnacht. It is Krampus' own special day to dole out punishment.
Krampus Festivals Around the World
In Austria, Krampus is honored with an annual parade, a tradition that dates back over 1,000 years. The parade, a part of Krampuslauf festival, features costumed men dressed as Krampus prancing through the streets, ringing cowbells, and chasing participants. The widespread fame that Krampus has earned globally throughout history has carried this tradition to many parts of the world, including Italy, the host of the Cave del Predil Krampus festival. Festivals and parades celebrating Krampus also take place across the United States, such as the Krampuslauf Philadelphia, Krampus Night in Bloomington, Indiana, and Breakfast with Krampus in Rochester, New York.
Who's ready for a Krampus festival? Certainly all of us at Spooky Cat Press!
I am not a devil, fool. Do you ever wonder why you seek the Devil with such vigor? I shall tell you. Because you cannot face your own wickedness.