We at Alone at Night love Halloween. It's been our favorite holiday as long as we can recall and that isn't going to change any time soon. However, Halloween isn't the only holiday that can be creepy. Christmas has its own share of scary folklore and frightening creatures. Many cultures that celebrate the season have their own scary entity meant to scare children into being good or punish them for being bad.
We'll discuss some of these entities at length over the next couple of days including: Belsnickle, Hans Trapp, Gryla, and of course Black Peter. Today, though, we're going to take an in-depth look at one Christmas-time entity that has come into fashion of late. We are of course talking about Krampus.
Krampus is a creature that serves almost as the anti-Santa. While Santa is the carrot that says, "Be good, children, and you'll be rewarded." Krampus is the stick that will punish bad children. Krampus carries with him a birch switch with which he beats the bad children.
Krampus is often described as having horns and cloven hooves and an overall demonic appearance. While his appearance varies from culture to culture, he is often described as hairy and either brown or black. He is often swathed in chains that rattle and shake, striking fear into the bad children lying in their beds, because they know that Krampus has come for them.
Krampus has his own day of celebration in some parts of the world. In Austria and some other parts of Europe, Krampus is celebrated on December 5th. During this day, there are public celebrations and parades in which people dressed as Krampus harass and abuse onlookers. We've included a video below.
Like many Christmas traditions, many academics place trace Krampus' origin to pre-Christian myths. This is apparent in the appearance of Krampus, his hairy body and cloven hooves, for example.
Modern culture has lately embraced Krampus and the celebrations that were once limited to parts of Europe have spread, and there are Krampus parades even in the United States these days. Krampus has even made his way into popular media including a so-so scary movie.
We at Alone at Night are fans of all things horror, and while Halloween remains our favorite Holiday, we believe that Krampus does make Christmas a lot more fun. So, keep your ears sharp while you're lying in bad. Are those jingle bells you hear on the roof, or are they rattling chains? Ask yourself truthfully, have you been naughty or nice?