Krampus

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The Germanic monster Krampus is most often depicted as a goat-legged devil with long, curved horns.  The origin of Krampus is a bit murky, but some scholars believe he is a pre-Christian pagan character and the son of Hel, the Germanic goddess of the underworld.  This holiday monster is the antithesis of good Saint Nicholas--whose reported behavior during the holidays is itself based on stories of the Germanic god Odin's wild Yuletide rides.  While Saint Nick brings presents to well-behaved boys and girls, Krampus beats bad children with birch sticks before throwing them into his basket and carrying them off to his lair in the underworld.

Like many preexisting pagan beliefs, Krampus was integrated into the Christian celebration of Christmas; although for years the Catholic Church attempted to suppress his inclusion as a form of demon worship.  Despite the church's best efforts, celebrations involving Krampus made a resurgence at the end of the 20th century.  Krampusnacht is traditionally held on December 5th, the evening prior to the Feast of Saint Nicholas, and features adults that dress as the demonic figure and parade through the streets--a tradition now held in a number of major cities across the western world. 

Tobias WaylandComment