#Creepmas Day 5 - Krampusnacht

In parts of Europe December 5 is known as Krampusnacht or Krampus Night. It is celebrated with a run or parade where

Krampus is a horned beast known sometimes as the Christmas devil. Half man, half goat he punishes naughty children during the holiday season. He often accompanies Saint Nicholas  lore, some legends even say he is St Nick's evil brother.

Krampus has many variations but most feature similar physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. He usually has a long pointed tongue and fangs.

There is a lot of symbology in the items featured with Krampus. he carries chains, thought to symbolize the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. Sometimes he shown carrying Ruten, bundles of birch branches, of Pagan origin. that Krampus carries and with which he occasionally swats children. The Ruten are sometimes replaced with a whip. Krampus is often shown with a sack or a basket strapped to his back.  He puts naughty children in the sack or basket and carts them away.

From Wikipedia:

The history of the Krampus figure has been theorized as stretching back to pre-Christian Alpine traditions. In a brief article discussing the figure, published in 1958, Maurice Bruce wrote:
There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved. The birch – apart from its phallic significance – may have a connection with the initiation rites of certain witch-covens; rites which entailed binding and scourging as a form of mock-death. The chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to 'bind the Devil' but again they could be a remnant of pagan initiation rites.[4]
Discussing his observations in 1975 while in Irdning, a small town in Styria, anthropologist John J. Honigmann wrote that:
The Saint Nicholas festival we are describing incorporates cultural elements widely distributed in Europe, in some cases going back to pre-Christian times. Nicholas himself became popular in Germany around the eleventh century. The feast dedicated to this patron of children is only one winter occasion in which children are the objects of special attention, others being Martinmas, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and New Year's Day. Masked devils acting boisterously and making nuisances of themselves are known in Germany since at least the sixteenth century while animal masked devils combining dreadful-comic (schauriglustig) antics appeared in Medieval church plays. A large literature, much of it by European folklorists, bears on these subjects. ... Austrians in the community we studied are quite aware of "heathen" elements being blended with Christian elements in the Saint Nicholas customs and in other traditional winter ceremonies. They believe Krampus derives from a pagan supernatural who was assimilated to the Christian devil.[5]
The Krampus figures persisted, and by the 17th century Krampus had been incorporated into Christian winter celebrations by pairing Krampus with St Nicholas.[6]

Krampus has been fully resurrected in modern culture the past couple years. Scrolling through Amazon you'll find many books and movies dedicated to the horned beast of Christmas. 

Some places even offer alternative holiday parties featuring Krampus for those who enjoy the darker side of the holidays.

Here in Michigan the Detroit the 8th Annual Krampus Night is being held this Friday, December 7.

Check out my Amazon Krampus List

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