Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Categories: Europe | Holidays and Festivals

Everyone knows that Santa Claus gives gifts to good children and coal to bad ones. But according to tradition, St. Nicholas - the prototype of the famous Santa Claus - was accompanied by his faithful companion and at the same time antipode - a horned monster named Krampus. It was he who was responsible for punishing disobedient children. Krampus is an integral New Year's character in the Alpine regions. People dressed as this terrible monster can be found on the streets during Christmas festivities. Beware! He's got a whip and he's going to use it!

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

How is this nocturnal creature, more like an orc, connected with Christmas?

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

As you know, if children behave well, Father Frost (or Santa Claus - depending on who you choose) will bring them gifts for the New Year.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

With Krampus the idea is the same, only he doesn't bring gifts. He is not at all interested in good children. He likes those who behave badly, because they are the ones he can whip with his whip on New Year's Day.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Today, if children behave badly, it usually means that they will not receive any gifts. For some, this punishment is enough. However, some cultures had their own characters to frighten naughty children. One of them was Krampus - the threat of all naughty children.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Remember the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Well, Krampus is somewhat similar to him. Only with a much worse character.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Add to this the horns, something from the goblins and orcs from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and you will imagine a real Krampus.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Krampus is not just a fiction, but rather a means of intimidating naughty children, which has been used in different cultures for a long time.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

It began to gain popularity in Europe, appearing in remote, isolated alpine regions just over a hundred years ago.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

This was partly due to the popularity of Christmas cards depicting him in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The image of Krampus has changed little in recent years; one might even say that he has become scarier.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

So where did the legend of Krampus come from? The very name of this monster comes from the Old German word “krampen”.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

It means "claw". Krampus is an incubus that accompanied Saint Nicholas. Only he doesn’t give gifts to good children - he punishes the bad ones.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

According to tradition, an incubus is a demon that visits sleeping people. He lies down on them (the word “incubus” comes from the Latin word “incubo” - “to lie on top”).

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

However, Krampus is not just any rapist. Its purpose is to punish children who have behaved badly this year.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Postcards from the early 20th century depict Krampus with a whip.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

It is with this whip that he “measures out” his Christmas punishment.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

In Austria in particular, Krampus Night is still not forgotten. He is remembered on December 6, St. Nicholas Day.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Young people (and today girls) dress up as Krampus and walk along the city streets. Their goal is to scare children. And it seems, not only children.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Needless to say, this is Europe, the 21st century. The Krampus tradition, once part of the culture, has now become a great excuse for those who like to indulge in all sorts of street madness. Let's just say it's an excuse for young people who want to be bad for a little while.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Due to the isolation of the alpine regions, many regional varieties of Krampus emerged. In Bavaria he is “Wilde Mann”, somewhere else he is “Knecht Rupert”. But the tradition of punishment walks side by side with him.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

However, in Hungary his image softened a little. There he is considered a harbinger of troubles, but not a demon. In addition, the Hungarian Krampus is dressed in a black suit. The modern image of the polite (but nonetheless stupid) devil comes from there. The Hungarian Krampus often carries Virgaki - several rods tied together, which children can receive if they behave badly. Of course, they still receive gifts too.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

The largest festival in honor of Krampus takes place in the town of Schladming in Austria. About a thousand Krampus gather there. They carry sticks and burning whips with which they can punish bad children. Often, Krampus choose young girls as their targets. Especially the cute ones.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

It is not surprising that the girls prefer to stay at home on this night (after all, the German whip is famous all over the world).

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Mostly wooden masks were used for the Krampus costume, despite the fact that they are too similar to the masks used by Hollywood make-up artists. Krampus' clothes are sheep's skin and the horns of the same animals.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Let's hope that “no animals were harmed in the making of these costumes.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

The Krampus Festival is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the planet.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

Nowadays there are fewer and fewer Christian traditions, and people sometimes switch to pagan ones.

Krampus - Santa Claus' sadistic sidekick

And the gloomy, almost “Gothic” beauty of this image only adds to its popularity, because today demons and other evil spirits are very popular.

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