Monday 5 December 2016

Happy Krampusnacht!

Today, or rather tonight, is Krampusnacht!

Krampus - from the Old High German word krampen, meaning claw - is a Christmas devil, the bad to St. Nicholas' good, whose purpose is to warn children to behave and to punish those children who've been bad.

In the Alpine regions of Austria and Hungary, young men still dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition goes so far as to include the birching of young girls!

Images of Krampus usually show him with a basket on his back used to carry away bad children and dump them into the pits of Hell.

I was inspired by the legend to write my own story about Krampus and you can download a pdf of the story Claws here.

You can find out all about the Krampus, and other darker Christmas traditions, in my festive-themed book Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts.

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