Austrian Christmas is scary

Pax Arcana

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 Bavaria Austria.

Say hi to the Krampus:


Apparently, 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:


Krampus is coming: Bavaria’s scary Christmas tradition [The Local]



Filed under Germany

18 responses to “Austrian Christmas is scary

  1. Fallen Angel

    that is the greatest holiday of all time

    • damienstarr

      this is not Bavarian this is Austrian folk lore the krampus actually rides with Santa while Santa gives presents to the good kids the krampus punishes the bad one with willow whips,chains, sometimes even drowning them in a sack.he was particurly fond of young female virgins.

  2. Me

    Whoever wrote this article is rather creative! Having lived in Bavaria for thirty years I haven’t seen or heard anything like this! THIS IS NOT A BAVARIAN TRADITION!!!! Merry Christmas!

    • S. Doty

      WRONG. I have only been to the Bavarian area once, and I saw it! The creatures were with Father Christmas, and had hugh cow bells on their backs with fur wrappings and horns, and chased people in the streets with switches, especially pretty girls. The event took place for two consecutive nights, and was quick scary, but like haunted houses and roller coasters, still enjoyable. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, and we were told by local Germans that we were lucky to have witnessed the event, as very few Germans got to experience it.

  3. Pingback: Where the hell have you been? «

  4. Yes, it’s Austrian!! I love it. Wish I could be there, this time with my 3 and 4 year old. They would be wetting their pants. I get scared too though.

  5. Ivette

    This is just down right evil….using the celebration of the Birth of our Saviour and combining it with Satanic ways to scare our own children is sickening. People just really do not care about anything any more, even their own children as long as they have “FUN” doing it. Wake up and do what is right and moral!

    • Nothing says “morality” like teaching your children to fear the supernatural entity of your choosing. You stick with Jesus. I chose the Krampus.

    • joe slitstomper

      why you pompous ignorant bitch!! how dare your “savior” intrude on my favorite pagan holiday! there’s not a scholar on the planet who thinks jesus has a damned thing to do with christmas, it’s a marketing holiday grafted on to a solstice celebration. grow up and read some REAL books before joining an adult conversation. krampus is as fine a tradition of fiction as your guy.

    • Charles

      I suppose youve never been shopping for Christmas gifts and the evil that often comes from it.
      People fight and trample others to be first to get in the door.
      And that is often the precursor to bitterness that happens when you didn’t get the present you wanted or the giver didn’t spend as much money as you did.
      and families run their credit cards up paying high interest on gifts they couldn’t actually afford.
      All in preparation for the Saviour’s Birth and the big point here is this;
      Who goes to someone else’s birthday and Expects to get Christmas gifts? No one I know. They bring gifts for the one whose having the birthday.
      Joseph or Mary did not receive gifts, the gifts were brought for the Birthday Baby, Christ.
      How is it you can give gifts to one another and maintain you are celebrating the Birth of Christ.
      What’s worst the retailers making a fortune selling Christmas gifts not bought for Christ but for our selves are willing to call Thanksgiving
      Thanksgiving, Hannukah,Hannukah but not Christmas but rather happy holidays so as no one is offended saying that what the money rolling in is fod, the birth of Christ.
      Christ debated Satan; Satan is real and Krampus
      is a symbol for the evil we overlook and accept as normal which is far worst scarier than the symbol ever could be.
      Maybe if some children actually were scared they wouldnt grow up skipping school,beating up their teachers or other kids and graduating to even killing all their classmates, their parents and all other manner of bad things that happen when children are not brought to obedience and awareness of what is bad and maybe even the word No.

  6. Wolpertinger

    I’ve been in Bavaria and Prussia for centuries and I can firmly attest there is no such person as Krampus around here. You’ll have to go to Hungary and Austria. Around these parts we have Knecht Ruprecht or Farmhand Rupert. Although Rupert is not as terrifying in appearance, the punishment he dolls out is similar.

  7. pazo

    This is just down right evil….using the pagan celebration of the renewal of light and combining it with Satanic ways to scare our own children is Christianity. People just really do not care about anything any more, even their own children as long as they have “FUN” doing it. Wake up and do what is right and moral!

    • Cert

      Perhaps the Krampus will visit Ivette and pazo this year….

    • Nat

      Well, if you read in the Bible, doesn’t God use Satan to scare the sh*t out of you? Sounds like it works, eh? Why not Krampus to scare the sh*t out of the ‘bad’ children, too?

  8. Bnanacheese

    This is the most genius tradition in the world, and it fits perfectly into the holiday season because it’s not just scaring little children, it’s scaring the BAD children. That’s the tradition of Krampus. He’s Saint Nick’s companion, slaughtering the bad children. I would LOVE to have this tradition. In fact, I’m going to teach my kids this way.

  9. I lived in Erlangen Germany as a child in the mid to late 1950’s and not only did St. Nikolas come with his golden miter and golden book, krampus was always on his side, chained.
    But he let Krampus’es chain loose when the nuns told him about me every year.
    I was terrified,of course, but thank goodness I could run on top of the desks,under the nun’s skirts, and of course much faster than Krampus.
    I never thought about whose tradition it was;I was always busy trying to out run and keep him from taking me to hell with him.
    So I got the coals that went along with being bad, but I always ended up with gifts of fresh valencia oranges that I could smell a mile away,lebkuchen,marzipan, and pfernusse,plus walnuts, apples.
    I looked forward to St.Nikolas coming every year on the 6th of December.
    And then of kriskindl, the Christ child which never was actually a child but always an angel. I didn’t philosophize about that either.
    The cathedrals, the smell of frankincense and mhyrr? , the smells, the smell of the bakerei,the fresh cut tress, snow and the church bells, made for a festive and magical time of year only fitting for celebrating a baby King’s birthday.Each Advent candle that was lit on top of an evergreen wreath was truly waiting for the Christchild to show up on everyone’s doorsteps.No trees were put up until Christmas Eve, the night we celebrated Christmas.

  10. Charles

    You don’t have a clue.I actually was a child going to a German Catholic Kindergarten when I was 5.
    St.Nikolas came with his Bishops robes and Golden Miter.
    He saw all the children and had small branches with gifts hanging on them and branches with small pieces of coal.
    Chained to him was krampus whom he also referred to as Teufel(devil).
    He was pitch black with coal and hairy and always crouched making intimidating noises.
    For bad kids like myself, St.Nikolas unchained him.
    But only after I got my coals.
    Had he had caught me, he would have taken me to hell with him.
    So it was a run for my life.
    Germany doesn’t happen on the kaserne, it happens when you become culturually immersed in another culture.
    I was born in Austria and the Austrian Krampus was not near as scary or terrifying.
    There is more to Germany than parades, as I said did you ever go to a German kindergarten or elementary school on St.Nikolas Day early December?
    Bet you don’t know one of the favorite drinks other than beer in Bavaria is Sauerkraut Juice.
    Or that the first day of school is a big celebration for German children who are given big 3 foot+ CELLophane DECORATED cones filled with fruits and candies, as well as a taffel(a small chalkboard to learn to write on) and a leather backpack for their school supplies.
    or that the most authentic foods are always served in local gasthauses.
    But the point is just because you missed it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

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