Monday, 23 December 2013

The Story of Krampus; Santa's Evil Twin

He's making a list, and checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice,
Krampus is coming to town.

Deep in the fantastical folklore of many of the world's Alpine countries cackles a cataclysmic creature the Austrian's call 'Krampus'. 

Whilst the plump and jovial figure of a borderline diabetic Santa Claus chuckles his way through an army of Christmas wishlists from the good little boys and girls of the world, his satanic sibling frantically flings out the clutter in his lair to make space for the bad. 

For many, the piquant prospect of piles of presents symbolises the magic of the festive period, but for Krampus, there exists no greater pleasure than punishing the children that have behaved blunderingly all year.

History and Origins
According to Maurice Bruce (1958), the existence of the Christmas creeper should not even be a matter for discussion. Bruce comments that 'there seems to be little doubt as to his true identity' and suggests that 'chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to 'bind the Devil'. 

Austrian's also believe the 'demon' is a figment of some ridiculously religious imagination and say Krampus derives from a pagan supernatural who was assimilated to the Christian devil. However, despite the aura of negativity surrounding the unfortunately ugly beast, his 'existence' certainly influenced the Habsburg Empire who announced am annual celebration of St.Nicholas's evil twin would take place on 5th December in Austria.

(A Krampus festival in Salzburg)


Unlike his peculiarly pretty older brother, Krampus is one repugnant motherfucker. Although he appears in many variations, common characteristics include:

  • Brown/black hair
  • Cloven hooves
  • Goat-like horns
  • A long and pointed tongue
  • Sharp, pointed teeth
Krampus is also depicted carrying a chain believed to symbolise the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. In some cases, the chain is accompanied by a variety of bells and bundles of birch branches used to swat badly behaved children. 

Krampusnacht - The Festival

Primarily celebrated in Alpine countries, Krampusnacht is celebrated on December 5th, the day before the Feast of St.Nicholas. During the night, Krampus patrols the streets visiting homes and business whilst searching for naughty boys and girls. 

Whilst St.Nicholas dispenses gifts for well behaved children, Krampus desperately locates the children who haven't behaved so well and supplies them with coal and ruten bundles.