Krampus, in central Europe is a popular legend, a half goat, half demon monster and is the devilish companion of St Nicholas.
In folklore, Krampus allegedly shows up in towns on the 5th December along with St Nicholas. While St Nicholas puts candy in the shoes of the good children and birch twigs in the shoes of the bad children, Krampus punishes the misbehaved kids by beating them with the birch branches or they are stolen from their homes, hurled in a sack to later be tortured or eaten.
Where is Krampus from?
Krampus Roots have actually nothing to do with Christmas as such and its been stated on numberous sites that his name is believed to be originated back to Pre-Germanic paganism, with the German name ‘Krampen’ meaning ‘Claw’. Some believe that he could have been the son of the Norse God of the underworld, Hel but if you look at histories of each, Krampus does not seem to fit in either. On one website, talesoftimesforgotten, they state that actually, Krampus could date back to high or middle ages of christian times and that Krampus and the medieval portrayal of Satan are striking and obvious. Christian mystery plays of the Late Middle Ages prove this is where his character could have been invented to create fear and to me this sounds more likely.
During the 12th century, the Catholic Church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because how he resembled the devil but all attempts failed and Krampus emerged as a much-feared and beloved holiday figure.
In modern times, across the world, parades and fun type events occur, particular in the streets of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic during the 5th December- The night is often referred to has Krampus Night or Krampusacht. Participants will dress up as devils and participate in a ‘Krampus Fun run’ where the public attending is chased by these ‘devils’.
Sounds quite fun, But There are already complaints that ‘Krampus’ celebrations are becoming too commercialized and that it is losing his edge because of his new found popularity since ‘Krampus’ movies and television episodes promote ‘Krampus’ as being the dark side of Christmas.