Krampus the Christmas Demon

According to central Eastern European folklore, Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon being who brings yuletide horror to naughty kids in this part of the world.

 

Photo Credit: Unknown Unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Krampus has his own special day or should I say night. It is known as Krampusnacht and occurs on December 5. Legend has it that this is the time when Krampus visits bad children and terrorizes them as punishment for being bad. He might leave them a bundle of birch sticks, but kids who really tick him off could get beaten with the sticks or worse. What could be worse than getting beaten with sticks? According to Mental Floss, “he might toss them into a sack or basket on his back and then throw it in a stream, or he might straight-up take them to hell.”

Unknown Unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On December 5, there are Krampus-themed celebrations including Krampus balls and Krampuslauf or Krampus runs that involve people parading through town dressed as Krampus monsters. You might want to think twice about watching Krampus runs because these costumed Krampus revelers have been known to beat spectators on the legs regardless of whether they’ve been bad or good.

Perchtenlauf Gh Pröllhofer (30512170593)
Photo Credit: katsch1969 [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Even though he may appear only one day out of the year, the threat of Krampus lingers. Some people keep birch twig decorations around the house on a year-round basis to remind their children of the dark being who will visit them on December 5 if they misbehave.

Sources:

“Krampus” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

“9 Facts About Krampus, St. Nick’s Demonic Companion” by Jess Zimmerman http://mentalfloss.com/article/71999/9-facts-about-krampus-st-nicks-demonic-companion

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2 thoughts on “Krampus the Christmas Demon

    1. Hi Alexis,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. I based my post on available online sources. Some of them say he is half-demon. For example, National Geographic describes him as “a half-goat, half-demon, horrific beast who literally beats people into being nice and not naughty.” It also has this to say about him: “Krampus’s name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, and is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns.” Link: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131217-krampus-christmas-santa-devil/

      I am not an expert on Krampus. Since he seems to be a mythic figure, it is possible there could be several origin myths about him.

      Like

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