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Tremble and fear, Krampusnacht is here!

On the 5 of December falls Krampusnacht, the night when Krampus is said to travel across the land and punish naughty children. This figure has roots in Germanic Paganism, although a lot of meaning surrounding the myth has been lost to time. The Church tried to ban the celebration but it continued in hard-to-access places, which is why the Krampusnacht festivities are mostly part of the culture in the Alpine area of Central Europe.

”Salutations from Krampus!” German postcard from around 1900.

Eventually, the Church gave up on trying to ban Krampus and instead incorporated him into the Christmas time celebrations as a servant of Saint-Nicholas.

It has been theorised that Krampus has a connection with the Yule Goat, which in turn is believed to be inspired by the goats that pull Thor’s chariot. Others say this theory is a little bit far-fetched, as there isn’t much connecting Krampus to Thor’s goats beside Germanic Paganism and the figure’s goat-like appearance.

The mighty Thor. Artwork by Johannes Gehrts.

Tonight, parades of Krampuses will be held in many cities of Alpine Central Europe, much to the fear and delight of adults and children alike. Here’s what that can look like (not my video, just found it on YT):

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