Here’s What You Might Not Know About Krampus

posted: 12/06/16
by: Kelly McClure
Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria
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Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria
Wikimedia Commons

The origins of Krampus can be traced back to Austria and the German-speaking Alpine region where the horned and bearded devilish trickster is a part of holiday tradition to this day. Much like stores in America are riddled with cards, candies, and decorations featuring the jolly likeness of Santa Claus this time of year, the Alpine region gets decked out in Krampus merchandise, and townsfolk take to the streets, dressed in similar fashion, to cause mayhem and whip unsuspecting people who get too close with sticks.

Krampusnacht takes place on December 5th and is to Krampus as December 25th is to Santa. Huge parties are thrown on this day in honor of the beast and include dancing, drinking, and more hitting people with sticks. Hitting and being hit with sticks is a huge part of this holiday tradition.

Krampus, who's said to have one human foot and one cloven foot, is whispered to be the low-key close friend of Jolly Saint Nick himself. Since the 17th century the two mythical figures have had their stories linked in one way or another. And as most things that began in other countries, Americans now have access to Krampus (and Santa) celebrations right here on our own home turf at festivals in most major cities--most of which take place on December 5th. Did you attend one this year? Did anyone hit you with a stick?

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