Searching for Krampus


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Man if they did something like this in Austin i’d be so game. I remember joking about the Krampus to my swedish aunt who was visiting a few years ago and she’d never heard of the tradition. I wanted to explain but i felt like she’d be more horrified than amused.

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Remind me to take pictures of the Krampuslauf next weekend in Munich, where Krampusvereine from Bavaria and Austria all come to parade.

Edit: here’s the English-language description, albeit with less info. See the above link for videos instead.

Seems as good a place as any to promote the one we’re doing in STL this Saturday:

Where I will be performing my Krampus Pole Act:

Your Pal,


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So happens, my short Christmas story this year is about the Krampus… Once Gramps Had Come by Matthew Sawyer at Smashwords.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
I´m German and I am confused. When did our folklore suddenly become cool? I´m not really sure if I´m comfortable with that one of our oldest traditions suddenly becomes the “flavour of the month” trend for Americans that do not really understand the background of it.

German folklore became super cool worldwide in the 19th century. Brothers Grimm and all that. Then for obvious reasons in the 20th century it became very uncool. Now the pendulum is swinging back. A very large number of Americans have some German heritage, and an even larger number have some links back to the Habsburg Empire if they are of Jewish, Czech, Polish, Slovenian, etc. ancestry so it is not really that surprising to see Americans taking a renewed interest in the Old Country.

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Ahh… Krampus…

I remember being just an urchin in north Croatia and my country relatives decided to give me and other kids the “full works” one Christmas.

It was glorious, full-on battle between the forces of darkness and light. At one point I was actually abducted from the warm cozy kitchen and taken into the nearby night-shrouded snowy woods by the Krampus (who smelled strongly of alcohol which gave everything just that extra edge in gritty realism). At one point I really thought “This is it, I’m done for!”… Just to be rescued in the nick of time by Gandalf-like St Nicholas in full bishop regalia who smote the Evil One with his shepherd’s staff and cast him howling into the Outer Darkness…

Wonderful. Brings shivers down my spine even now.

p.s. as an “old worlder” my advice is that krampus doesn’t really work without his opposite (St Nicholas, or Santa Claus or Gandalf or whatever) The whole tradition is originally more about this conflict between good guy and the bad guy than one or the other on his own. The modern Santa Claus thing always struck me as faintly pointless and boring… Ok, he’s a good guy, but where’s the bad guy in this story? The major conflict in modern Santa Claus fable is whether he’ll appear or not. Big Deal. Let him have to fight against the Devil himself to rescue the kids and deliver them presents. Now we’re talking blockbuster material :smile:

If you want to introduce Krampus in your festivities you need to have the good guy as well, otherwise it’s just this scary dude without any real story attached. You don’t need to do the catholic St Nicholas with his shepherd’s staff thing, any popular good guy will do. (Han shoots Krampus first! Or parents ganging up to fend off the Evil One, if you’re not into pop mythology or religion)


There are huge numbers of ancestral Germans in the US. Besides the place names, the names of many American bakeries, regional breweries, and department stores are German.

The Venture Brothers certainly raised the visibility of the Krampus in America.

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Enjoy the soothing sounds of Krampus Bells:

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