Krampus – The Weird Mythical Creature
Krampus is a mythical creature. He is the dark counterpart of Saint Nicholas. In various regions of the world, especially Austria and Hungary, it is believed that Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children.
The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by an incubus-like creature. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition also includes birching, corporal punishment with a birch rod, by Krampus, especially of young girls. Images of Krampus usually show him with a basket on his back, that is used for carrying bad children away and dumping them into the pits of Hell.
Modern Krampus costumes consist of Larve (wooden masks), sheep’s skin, and horns. Considerable effort goes into the manufacturing the hand-crafted masks, and many young adults in rural communities compete during the Krampus events. In Oberstdorf, in the alpine southwestern part of Bavaria, the tradition of Der Wilde Mann (“the wild man”) is being kept alive. He is like Krampus, but has no horns, is dressed in fur, and frightens children (and adults) with rusty chains and bells, but he is not an assistant of Saint Nicholas.
I was in Salzburg, but I did not see them… I was there in wrong time.