By Tyler DeWacht
Are you in the holiday spirit yet? That special time of year is coming–where nice children are awarded with presents and naughty children are beaten up and kidnapped by a scary goat demon. Yep, you read that right. It’s almost Krampus Night! Since it’s happening a day after this will be published, let’s take a look at the holiday.
What is Krampus? Descending from pre-Christian paganistic roots, he’s said to be the son of Hel (from Norse mythology), his name derived from the German word krampen (meaning “claw”). Coming from Germanic lore, Krampus is a half-goat and half-demon creature who hangs out with Saint Nick, and his job is to scare naughty children into behaving. If a child has been particularly naughty, Krampus beats them with a birch stick, drags them in a sack to his lair in Hell, and tortures them for a year. Despite being the polar opposite of Saint Nicholas, the two get along pretty well, and Krampus even does occasional jobs for the guy.
Next, what is this holiday known as Krampus Night? It begins on December 5, the night before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas and Krampus go around to different houses where children have left their shoes outside; if the child is good, Saint Nick leaves a gift for them in their shoes, and if not, Krampus leaves coal as a warning. If these warnings aren’t heeded, you know what happens next. He also appreciates it when parents set aside a nice bottle of Schnapps for him.
Krampus Night is mainly observed nowadays in the Germanic regions of Europe such as Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, and parts of northern Italy. Though citizens and unsuspecting tourists may end up being chased by someone in a Krampus costume, it’s all in good fun. Despite being a controversial holiday for centuries over the issue of whether or not it’s child-friendly, it has recently gained a fair amount of traction in pop culture. Krampus Night celebrations and parades are starting to become more common in major cities throughout North America–there’s even one right here in Edmonton! This year, it starts at 8pm around Whyte Ave; consider checking it out tomorrow if you get the chance!
Now you know a little more about Krampus Night and the unholy beast known as Krampus. Whether or not you prepare yourself, he’ll be walking through our city tomorrow. Have you or someone you know gotten on Krampus’s bad side? It might be a good idea to watch your back this holiday season…