Krampus, the word Krampus is a derivation of the old German word for claw, is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish bad children during the Christmas season. He is Saint Nicholas’, dark companion, who said to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair. Born out of a pre-Christian, Alpine Pagan tradition, he is older than Jesus.
The creature has roots in Germanic folklore. On Krampusnacht, which takes place on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day. In Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men, and witches to participate in Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Young men bearing torches, costumed devils caper and carouse through the streets terrifying child and adult alike with rusty chains and bells. This ancient guising and masking tradition continues to this day as the primary source for our modern Halloween with its costumes, trick-or-treat, and pagan symbolism.
Saint Nicholas is originally a 4th century Greek Saint, who had the reputation of secret gift-giving, he mashed up with other pagan figures like “Knecht Ruprecht” and utilized by a Coca-Cola marketing campaign turned into the jolly, mainly celebrated on December 24th Santa we know today.
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