On December 5th, adults celebrating Krampusnacht seek to punish misbehaving children. This not-so-jolly holiday is also referred to as Krampus Night.
Most people associate the holiday season with lots of cheer, merriment, and joy. However, there is one traditional holiday during this time of the year that doesn’t sound so fun. In fact, it seems a little scary. It’s actually more Halloween-like than Christmassy.
Krampusnacht dates back to pagan mythology. Some believe Krampus, also known as the “Horned God,” came from a pagan supernatural being who was assimilated to the devil. Horned devils came about during the 11th century. They often appeared in medieval plays. The name Krampus is derived from the German word krampen, which means “claw.” It’s no surprise that during the 12th century, the Catholic Church tried to ban Krampus celebrations. They did so because of his resemblance to the devil.
Krampusnacht survived, however, and over time, Krampus evolved into a child-terrorizing ghoul that came out before Christmas. On the evening of Krampusnacht, men dress as Krampus run through the streets and frighten children. Sometimes, Krampus even pokes the children with a stick. Traditional Krampus costumes are made up of a hand-carved wooden mask. A suit made from sheep or goatskin, along with cowbells around the hips, completes the costume.
In some countries, Krampus appears in the streets with St. Nicholas. Krampus punishes the naughty children while St. Nick rewards the good ones.
HOW TO OBSERVE #Krampusnacht
Krampusnacht is widely celebrated in Bavaria, Eastern Europe, and Germany. In recent years, it has also become a popular holiday in the United States. Some cities, such as Seattle, Philadelphia, and New Orleans hold Krampus parades. These parades often signify the beginning of the Christmas season. To participate:
- Learn more about the history of Krampusnacht.
- Attend Krampusnacht events in your city.
- Watch a Krampus movie, such as Krampus, A Christmas Horror Story, or Krampus: The Christmas Devil.
- Have a Krampusnacht party and invite people to dress as Krampus.
Share this bizarre holiday on social media with #Krampusnacht.
In some countries, Krampusnacht has been celebrated for hundreds of years. The event always precedes the feast of St. Nicholas, which is held on December 6th.