Legend of Krampus - Who is Krampus
The past few years I have been more and more intrigued by the Legend of Krampus and how such an ugly, nasty and scary beast is such a prominent part of Christmas tradition in the Alpine region. When I talk about Krampus, people often ask, "Isn't he the German Christmas Devil?" or "Is it Santa's evil twin?" .... mmm... not quite. Here is a great little article from National Geographic that clearly explains the legend of Krampus.
The mythical Krampus is meant to whip children into being nice. By Tanya Basu, National GeographicKrampus, whose name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns. The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December. Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat "wicked" children and take them away to his lair. According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night before December 6, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. December 6 also happens to be Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, when German children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they'd left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod (bad behavior). A more modern take on the tradition in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic involves drunken men dressed as devils, who take over the streets for a Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run of sorts, when people are chased through the streets by the "devils."
Why scare children with a demonic, pagan monster? Maybe it's a way for humans to get in touch with their animalistic side. Such impulses may be about assuming "a dual personality," according to António Carneiro, who spoke to National Geographic magazine earlier this year about revitalized pagan traditions. The person dressed as the beast "becomes mysterious," he said.
Lump of Coal Preferred?Krampus's frightening presence was suppressed for many years—the Catholic Church forbade the raucous celebrations, and fascists in World War II Europe found Krampus despicable because it was considered a creation of the Social Democrats But Krampus is making a comeback now, thanks partly to a "bah, humbug" attitude in pop culture, with people searching for ways to celebrate the yuletide season in non-traditional ways. National Geographic has even published a book in German about the devilish Christmas beast.
Krampus is indeed making a comeback!! I spotted this on American Horror Story: Freakshow, a Krampus Movie came out in 2015 (it was... interesting... click here to read my full review) and there are Krampuslaufs and other Krampus themed parties popping up left and right!
Much to my surprise... there are Krampus events, markets, Laufs and more happening all over the country! Here is a list of all the events that we found. (PLEASE feel free to add more in the comments.)
Krampus' Karnage in Absecon, NJ
2nd Annual Krampus Bazaar in Fieldsboro, NJ
Krampusnacht DC in Washington DC
Krampus Ball in Worcester, MA
Parade of Spirits, Liberty Lands in Philadelphia, PA
Krampusfest in Shillington, PA
2nd Annual Krampus Night - New York, NY
RVA Krampusnacht in Richmond, VA
Merry Maker Winter Market in Winchester, VA
Krampusfest Cleveland in Cleveland, OH
Krampus Night also in Cleveland, OH
Germania Society Christkindlmarkt in Cincinnati, OH
Krampus Rampage & Bazaar in Bloomington, IN
Krampus Fest at Martyrs in Chicago, IL
Krampus Mart: Alternative Handmade Market in Chicago, IL
Barrel-Aged Krampus Cookies Bottle Release in Chicago IL
Krampus Creepy Curiosities & Oddities Market in Lombard, IL
KRAMPUS NIGHT in Detroit, MI
KrampusNacht Ball in Minneapolis, MN
Milwaukee Krampusnacht Workshop: Krampus Choreography in Glendale, WI Milwaukee Krampusnacht in Glendale, WI
5th Annual Krampus Pub Crawl in Rapid City, SD
Krampus Artisan Emporium in Barco, NC
Krampus Festival in Historic Camden, SC
International Krampus Festival in Camden, SC
Krampus Pub Krawl in Savannah, GA
Krampus NOLAuf in New Orleans, LA
Krampus Art show in San Antonio, TX
Dallas Krampus Walk in Dallas, TX
Burton Ball & Krampus Parade in San Antonio, TX
If you are interested in going to these events, but don't have your full Krampus costume in ordnung just yet, not a problem... I've got a whole line up of fun items that you could wear these events... or any other day for that matter. The Krampus Shop by Rare Dirndl offers items like T-shirts, Leggings, and more including the best selling Krampus Scarf and the brand new book, "Krampus Meets His Match"
Please note that some of the links in select posts are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase.
As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. - Erika