The Christmas tradition in North America is a month-long carnival of love and giving, with dozens of smaller traditions (the indoor tree, the mistletoe, the fat guy in the suit) built around those central components. Sure, we murder wassails by the thousands — and occasionally we trample minimum wage workers — but for the most part our Christmas traditions are as peaceful as they come.
They do things a little differently in
Say hi to the Krampus:
Bavarians Austrians like to combine Christmas and Halloween into one giant scary festival of gruesome masks, presents, heart attacks, family, and spanking.
That’s right, I said spanking. The major thrust of the Krampus tradition is that young men dress up like the charming fellow above and roam around public markets scaring the piss out of local children. Apparently the ghoulish figures are supposed to be the alter egos of St. Nick roaming the streets and yelling to scare away St. Nick. And they like to spank women.
After the jump, more photos of the fun. For a complete slide show, check out this site.
And finally, the Rachel Nichols Krampus: