Krampus’ Rise to Fame in America
Who the heck is Krampus anyway? Krampus is a terrifying Alpine folklore character who is the evil counterpart to St. Nicholas. On December 6th, Krampusnacht (also St. Nikolastag) children leave their shoes or boots by the door and eagerly wait to see if there will be fruit or candies in their shoes (a reward for being good) or a rod (punishment for being bad). Krampus is said to literally whip children into good behavior. Some legends even have him capturing misbehaved children and bringing them back to his lair to whip them with sticks and chains. Quite pleasant huh?
Today in parts of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic people dress up in their best Krampus outfits and parade through the streets for Krampuslauf or Krampus run. Even here in Chicago there is a small Krampuslauf down the streets of Lincoln Ave after Krampusfest at Mayrtr’s (we’re a vendor there! 1st Saturday in December). It’s pretty awesome! I’m not sure if other cities are jumping on the bandwagon, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out if there were multiple events throughout the US centered around Krampus.
So why has Krampus become so much more well known in recent years? The 2015 comedy/horror film, Krampus, probably helped. My theory is that many people are getting tired of the same ol’ same ol’. The “holiday cheer” starts the moment Halloween is over (which if you ask me is so rude to Thanksgiving… one of my personal favs). The commercials, the music, the red, green and white decorations cover every inch of stores from Michaels & Walmart to CVS & your local hardware store! People are looking for something new… and Krampus is just that. Something a little dark, a little creepy and kinda underground.
There is more Krampus gear out there than ever before. I even found a Krampus version of Elf on a Shelf on Kickstarter: Krampus in the Corner!! (You betta believe I backed that! Here is the link if you’re interested. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/62144394/krampus-in-the-corner-picture-book-and-plush-toy)
So that’s my take on the cuddly, horned Christmas devil old legend and his current rise to fame in America. What do you think? Is Krampus trending in your hometown too? Tell me all about it in the comments below!
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