When the holiday season rolls around, old Saint Nicholas’s face is plastered over every surface imaginable. Kris Kringle takes the stage as the one sole entity who hands out coal or gifts to naughty and nice children respectively. However, deep in central European history, there is an “anti- Santa” known as the Krampus. This tall bipedal goat man gave children a real reason not to act out.
Though they represent naughty and nice, Krampus and Santa work as a team to deliver presents and punishments. Where Santa ate some cookies and leave nice children presents, Krampus would slither down the chimney and swat naughty children before taking them away to his lair. If this didn’t scare small European children, I don’t know what would.
Although the area Krampus originated from is known, it’s quite the mystery as to what group of people actually started the tales of this monster. However, many historians believe the Krampus may have ties to pre-Christian times. Wherever Krampus originated from, the tale of this goat-man spread across Europe like the black plague and before long, all of central Europe told their children tales of what would happen should they track mud inside or break a dish.
Krampus even has his own day, called Krampusnacht, on December 5. Krampusnacht was used to eliminate any doubts of the children that Krampus was the real deal. On this day Krampus is said the walk the streets and take a toll of the good and bad children in the city. Depending on the area, Krampus may be with Saint Nicholas or a priest with a ceremonial staff. The next day is more lively and features the feast of Saint Nicholas.
So when your little brother or sister acts out, don’t remind them that Santa is gonna give them lumps of coal. Instead, give them a real scare with the tale of the Krampus.