The Legend of Krampus

I always knew the story of St Nicholas and the the lump of coal  for bad children , But just recently found out about Krampus .   For those just learning about this legend, like me,  Krampus is a frightening, goat-like beast that travels with St. Nicholas. His job is to punish the naughty boys and girls while St. Nicholas deals with the nice ones.Having lived in Germany, I do remember the parade and the goat like creature , but never went deeper into the story until now.

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, such as chocolate  (a reward for good behavior) or a rod, or piece of coal  (bad behavior).

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Photo credit :PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES

Krampus , whose name is derived from the german word  krampen,  meaning claw, is said to be the son of hell norse mytholofy. The history of Krampus dates back to pre-christian tradition

This year the Krakus run   in Munich will be on Sunday, December 10th (3pm start) and Sunday, December 17th (4pm start).

The Krampus Run dates back 500 years to a tradition from the Alpine regions. As early as the 16th century, the so-called “Klabaufs” paraded around: Schoolchildren, choirmasters and school teachers of the Frauenkirche and St Peter’s church dressed up as bishops and caused so much unrest that the policed had to be summoned. The tradition of the Krampus Run is once again very popular, especially among young people.

In fact, Krampus’ roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region.During the 12th century, the Catholic church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because of his resemblance to the devil. This was attempted several times, in 1934 at the hands of Austria’s conservative Christian Social Party. But none of it held, and Krampus emerged as a much-feared and beloved holiday force.

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photo credit :(DOMINIC EBENBICHLER/Reuters/Corbis)

The Krampus is the yin to St. Nick’s yang,“You have the saint, you have the devil. It taps into a subconscious macabre desire that a lot of people have that is the opposite of the  Christmas a lot of us grew up with.”

 Krampus is now becoming popular across the Atlantic  with Krampus runs in New Orleans and Florida, Chicago , D.C ., Philadelphia , Richmond , Orlando and other cities in the U.S and Canada..
Of course  the holidays are scary enough  without throwing a demon with a penchant for physical assault into the mix. But if you are the kind of person, like me who loves scary stuff and Halloween, that terror doesn’t have to stop just because you have entered the season to be jolly.
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