Krampus, if you’re unaware, is a wonderful Christmas tradition in the Bavarian region of Germany and parts of Austria. While Santa is a jolly fat old man who rewards good children with toys and goodies, Krampus is like his evil sidekick. He’s a horned, cloven-hooved demon who kidnaps bad children, tortures them with switches and whips, then boils them alive in his lair deep in the mountains.
Like I said, he’s wonderful.
Here is a very traditional image of Krampus in action:
They love him so much, they make candy with him:
And, the best part is, once a year they have a FESTIVAL for him! Local community members in towns across the region get dressed up as Krampus, then dash through the streets in the annual Krampuslauf, whipping passerbys and making lots of noise, scaring children and small animals. Traditionally, the Krampuslauf is held on the evening of December 5. This year, I celebrated it in Salzburg, Austria!
Many Krampuses have black soot on their fingers that leave marks wherever they touch (as pictured on my face above). Maybe this is to mark which “children” are bad and must be whipped? And let me just say, those whippings HURT!
Isn’t holiday-themed behavior modification fun???
Outside of Krampuslauf, Salzburg is beautiful. There’s a lovely walled church with cemetery:
River with castle overlooking it:
Cathedrals (with Christmas decorations):
And a view that took my breath away:
After seeing these mountains, I kind of regretted not spending more time there.
Bonus fun time activity: my hostel played the classic film “The Sound of Music” (partially filmed in Salzburg) every. Single. Night. Wow.
Go to Salzburg! But be wary of Krampus (even though he’s awesome).