Krampus: The Sinister Sidekick of Santa

The Krampus…. I’ve never seen one in the “flesh” but I’m not sure that I want to given the stories that I’ve read. Sounds as though if you meet one and they’re in a mood you’ll wish that you’d never laid eyes on them. Now, for those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a few links and photos to inform you about them.

Fresno Famous – Krampus

Krampus Fest has this to say…

Everyone is familiar with Santa Claus, that jolly old elf who makes his way from house to house on Christmas Eve to deliver toys to the goodly children of the world. Here in the USA, some may know of St. Nick’s European heritage, but few are familiar with his dark companion, Krampus. In many Alpine European towns, the celebration of St. Nicholas Day would not be the same without a celebration on its Eve, December 5th, honoring this dark servant.

Originating in Germanic folklore as early as the 1600s, Krampus is believed to be a beastial creature who accompanies St. Nicholas on his earthly journey. While St. Nicholas rewards the good children with gifts and sweets, Krampus dispenses punishment to the wicked children who have strayed from the path of good. It is said he takes care of St. Nick’s “naughty list.” Why, the mere sight of Krampus alone is enough to turn any wrong-doer toward more peaceful pursuits.

The name Krampus is derived from the Old High German word for “claw.” This towering, seven foot tall, hairy creature is depicted as having bulging eyes, a whip-like tongue, pointed ears and horns atop his head. He carries a pitchfork or, more traditionally, a bundle of birch switches, to menace children as he travels through town on a pair of mismatched feet: one cloven hoof, the other a bear-like claw. Wayward children caught by Krampus are spanked, whipped and even shackled to be spirited away in either a basket or barrel to Krampus’ lair. Once there they receive further punishment until they are repentant.

Krampus festivals throughout Alpine communities kick off the holiday season with townspeople dressing in Krampus costumes, running rampant through the streets and putting a scare in the youngsters. After the children have been given a proper fright to ensure they stay on the straight and narrow, the rowdy Krampus are rewarded with holiday spirits, traditionally beer and schnapps. In fact, Krampus celebrations have become so popular that they can last for days before the arrival of Saint Nicholas on December 6th.

For those who revel in the spirited fun of Halloween, Krampusfest is the perfect addition to your traditional Christmas and holiday festivities!

Der Spiegel has a good article in english if you go here.

More info. here at and and and There’s even a group for Krampus on Flickr.

What do I think? I’m not sure. Seems pretty brutal but you know, it’s supposed to be in fun. I’m not from here, even though I do, obviously, live here so I can’t really given a qualified opinion.

Published by: wunnspeed

What does one say here. Hmmm. First, I'm a "trailing spouse". Kera, my wife, works hard and keeps us afloat. I work... not nearly as hard and contribute enough to let us have fun. Oh, I also make bags for bikepacking under the name of SpoK Werks I'm an English Teacher (English as a Second Language) here in Germany. It's an amazingly rewarding thing to do. I'd never have believed it until I'd tried it. I also make bikepacking bags under the name SpoK Bags. Just search for us in Flickr. We're adventure nuts (i.e. cycling, travel, life, friends, etc.). We attempt to live each day as fully as we can manage.

Categories life3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Krampus: The Sinister Sidekick of Santa”

  1. holy crap that picture looks terrifying. i’d be the best kid ever if i knew there was some unholy looking monster lurking around with mismatched feet who might spirit me away to their lair.

  2. WOW, I don’t even know where to begin! Do they really need to take it that far as into beat the children? Can’t they just scare them a bit and then let them go. Ive seen some videos and from what it looks like they take people from the surrounding areas and just beat them to the ground. I gotta say that this event is going to start up a whole new controversy, and it isnt with little children being rebels….

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