Why Krampus is absurdly and absolutely awesome:
(First, a disclaimer. There is no hatin’ on Santa Claus up in here.)
Krampus is the subject of Germanic folklore from northern and central Europe. The lore comes complete with a winter season demon who rewards naughty children’s misdeeds with the wrong end of a bundle of sticks, and maybe even a trip in his baskety backpack into a horrific Never-neverland where they might even get hung up in trees and eaten.
That’s not really the awesome part. (It’s really quite awful.)
But Krampus has lodged in people’s psyches enough to inspire the creation of post cards, poetry, songs, dolls, books, posters, movies, TV episodes (including “Supernatural” and “Grimm”), costumes, parades, festivals, and more.
Where did the awfulness come from originally? The hoofed, hairy, goat-like creature with horns looks a lot like the pagan figure Pan. There’s no reason why the pre-Christian tradition of putting a fir tree at the center of a celebration should turn into modern tradition and Krampus shouldn’t.
So…Krampus is great for reasons:
Think pagan parade, energy-releasing carnivale, an event akin to Mardi Gras and the team/club-structured Mummers parade — but ominous and monstrous, filled with fiery bundles of sticks, chains, and creepily clanging bells. Sometimes even chainsaws.
Krampus festivals often take place at night in charming, fairytale, snowy holiday markets with glowing, little white lights called Christkindlmärkte.
Krampus is basically like Halloween in December.
1930s fascists were not fans of Krampus.
While there are some common characteristics of the Krampus figures, the parades and festivals include multiple aesthetic interpretations that make the gatherings look like a special FX convention blew up.
One of the cultural Krampus interpretations is of the figure as a satyr-like seducer —
somewhat like monster vampire vs. sexy vampire.
People love playing Krampus and being scared out of their shoes by Krampus, even kids.
The costumes really are incredible.
Vintage Krampus card
Krampus by day…
Krampuslauf 2012 in Munich
Krampus by night…
Krampus on “Grimm”