By Emma Kathan

Krampus is the demonic sidekick of Jolly Old Saint Nick. While Saint Nicholas is known for his generosity toward deserving children, Krampus is seen as the punisher of the naughty children. On December 5, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, Krampus and Saint Nicholas visit all of the houses where the children will either get rewarded by Saint Nicholas with a nice gift or put into a sack and beaten with a stick by Krampus before he carries them off with him into the underworld. At his kindest, Krampus will just give the children a lump of coal instead of something that they really wanted.

Krampus is a pre-Christian mythological figure who is Germanic in origin but who also carries an amalgamation of features from the Slavic demon Chort, the Greek god Pan, and the folkloric European Wild Man. He is typically personified as a dark and hairy demonic man who walks upright on cloven hooves, usually carrying a branch to whip bad children and a sack thrown over his shoulder with which to carry them off.

To celebrate the eve of Saint Nicholas men and women in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and other Eastern European Alpine regions, dress up in frightening demonic costumes, drink heavily and chase little children around the city with chains and sticks. Merry Christmas!

Krampus Christmas by Actually Huizenga: