Krampusnacht: You’re Not Safe From Spookiness Yet

Taylor Andrews, Managing Editor

Illustration drawn by Park Press staff member Gracie Allen

December is a crucial month in the holiday season, with one of the most widely celebrated holidays, but this isn’t another Christmas article.

Krampusnacht is a European holiday, celebrated mostly in Bavaria and parts of Germany on December 5th. Britannica defines Krampus as a half-goat, half-demon monster that chooses Christmas time to punish naughty, misbehaving children. He originated in Germany and his name is derived from the German word Krampen, which means “claw”.

According to legend, Krampus is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. He is also believed to have been part of pagan rituals to celebrate the winter solstice. Despite the Catholic church’s efforts to ban him, Krampus became associated with the Christmas season. 

Krampus eventually evolved into the creature he is today, and some believe that he and St. Nicholas work together since they both appear on the night of December 5th, Krampus punishing the naughty children while St. Nicholas rewards good children. It’s even believed that in some cases Krampus will eat children or take them to hell, which is making a lump of coal sound pretty good right now.

So how is Krampusnacht celebrated in the modern age? According to History Things, on December 5 (although some places celebrate it on different dates), men dress up like Krampus and run through the streets to scare misbehaving children.

Although mostly a figure in European folklore, Krampus has spread to America. In Ohio, they host the Columbus Krampus Parade, which has been a tradition for them since 2015. The Columbus Krampus Parade is now advertised as family friendly and has over two hundred likes on the Columbus Krampus Walk page on Facebook. 

If you’re in love with Halloween like I am, Krampusnacht is a perfect addition to your holiday roster to add a little extra spookiness to your year. Krampusnacht is a day of holiday cheer and mischief. This December 5, make some room for some holiday mischief, and make sure to tell your favorite Park Press writer Happy Birthday.