Its Christmas season and with commercialization taking it over, people often forgets the real essence of the season. There are many countries in which Christmas is celebrated in all its sanctity. However, it's time to remember that Christmas is not only about gifts but also about some myths and legends. One of them is of the cloven hoofed demon who scares the people with his demonic appearance. Kramppus is a seven foot tall, horned demon who accompanies Saint Nicholas on Christmas Eve. While Saint Nicholas, the kind saint gifts the good children with candies and small gifts, Kramppus whips naughty children. In European countries, there still exists the tradition of people dressing up as Kramppus and terrifying children. Krampusnacht is a festival which is associated with Kramppus and is celebrated on the Eve of St. Nicholas day. There are ample legends and myths that are associated with Kramppus. Read further to know more about Kramppus and the stories associated with it.
Kramppus - The Dark Devil
Kramppus is the dark devilish companion who often accompanies St. Nicholas or Father Christmas who is the traditional gift bringer for Christmas. The reason why Kramppus accompanies him is that St. Nicholas leaves the job of punishing bad children to this devil who is known by varied names such as Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Kramppus. Often seen with horns, monstrous tongue and cloven hooves, this beast is also seen as a gentleman dressed in black or as a hairy-man beast. It is said Kramppus punishes bad and naughty children, swat them with rusty chains and switches and drags them to a fiery place in baskets. There's been resurgence in interest in Kramppus over the past century or so, but it seems as though the custom goes back hundreds of years.
Krampusnacht (Night Of Kramppus)
Krampusnacht is celebrated on the eve of St.Nicholas' day on December 6. In countries such as Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, people dress up as devils, witches and wild men and take part in Krampuslauf (Kramppus Run). On this day, St. Nicholas visits the children with gifts while Kramppus drags naughty children to pits of hell. It is said St. Nikolas and Kramppus and not enemies or friends but just co-workers where St. Nikolas holds a dominating position. These people, in intoxicated state, by bearing torches run through the streets, scaring children as well as adults. This festival is also celebrated in many European countries such as France and Finland and in several American cities. Countries like Bavaria and Germany celebrate the festival which is regarded as a 'throwback' to the pre-Christian tradition.
Kramppus is seen in goat horns, huge belly, sheep skin and a switch which it uses to hit children and unsuspecting ladies. It is said he stays in a cave underneath Santa Claus's castle. While Kramppus punishes those who are bad, Santa gives rewards to people as well as children who are nice. Like Santa, he too carries a satchel though it is not to gift presents but to stuff children in it if they are bratty. In some countries, Kramppus would make children perform dance or sing. Earlier, people used to gather in one room when he visits the households, terrified that he would take away their children.
Kramppus In Various Countries
In countries like Syria, the tradition of Kramppus is carried out by young men who take it as an opportunity to harass women with rusty chains, cowbells and home-made whips. This is commonly seen in night clubs. In United States, though this tradition is illegal, people practice it but in good spirits.
There are plenty of traditions and myths associated with Kramppus. Hope this article familiarizes you with these folklores.
Kramppus, who is the dark devilish companion of St.Nicholas, accompanies him while he visits children on the eve of St.Nicholas day. Read further to know more about Kramppus.