While American kids usually get their Christmas gifts no matter how good or bad they have been all year, their European counterparts have a good reason to behave themselves throughout the year. Traditionally, on December 6th, less than 3 weeks before Christmas, St. Nicholas visits families in many European countries and rewards kids who have been good. However, he does not come alone. He is accompanied by another fellow, a scary monster known as Krampus. As you might guess, Krampus’s duty is to take care of the bad kids. To find out more about this terrifying mythological figure and what he does to his victims, check out these 25 Creepy Cool Facts About Krampus.
Although Krampus appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He has a hairy, dark body, cloven hooves, and goat-like horns. Krampus also usually has a long, pointed tongue and huge fangs.
The name of this terrifying figure was probably derived from the old German word "krampen," which means "claw."
Krampus is traditionally considered to be the son of Hel - the ruler of the Realm of the Dead in Old Norse mythology.
Krampus is known by different names in different countries and regions. He is known as Knecht Ruprecht in most of Germany, Belsnickel in southwest Germany, Klaubauf in Bavaria, Pere Fouettard in northern France, Cert in Czech Republic, Klaubauf in some parts of Austria, and Parkejl in Slovenia.
Between 1934 and 1938, when Austria was under Fascist rule, Krampus was seen as a symbol of (variously) sin, anti-Christian ideals, and Social Democrats. It was therefore banned.
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