A centuries old German Christmas tradition gives way to a mysterious character who is called Krampus.
While the man who became known as St. Nick is famous for rewarding good children, his companion Krampus has been given the legend of making a special appearance to the more naughty children. During the night before Dec. 6 each year, to those children who have been especially naughty, Krampus pays a visit and punishes them, often with a whip made of birch branches or a rusty length of chain, before dragging them out into the blizarding night in a burlap sack.
The night is called “Krampusnacht,” according to folkore, and the tradition has been kept alive in some remote villages of Euro-Germanic countries.
The name Krampus, derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. Risen from the antique myths and legends of Alpine Europe, Krampus has long been a commonplace of the snowcapped mountains of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Northern Europe.
And while America may receive many of it’s Christmas traditions from our European ancestors, the story of Krampus is one that many Americans have never heard of.
Nothing says Christmas like clothing showcasing Krampus!