A scary list indeed: 25 Terrifying Facts About Krampus To Give You Nightmares! If you thought your in-laws were the scariest part of the holiday season, think again. The Krampus is an icon of Germanic folklore whose origins are older than even Jesus Christ.
While American children are greeted with a lump of coal for being naughty through the year, German children are threatened with something a bit more corporal. If you’re lucky, Krampus will only whip you with his bundle of birch sticks. For the truly naughty, he takes you right back to his home of fiery Hell.
Today, he is still celebrated with parades and fun (albeit painful) traditions that have spread across the globe. In today’s list of 25 Terrifying Facts About Krampus to Give You Nightmares, we’ll see how the child-eating holiday hell beast stacks up against your mother-in-law.
The demon, the myth, the legend
The morning after
He sees you when you're sleeping
December 5th is Krampusnacht, a day dedicated to Krampus. Today, that usually looks like men and boys dressing up in masks and costumes to run through the town in a Krampuslauf (Krampus run), but the legend tells of a night of terror when Krampus would visit each house. Sometimes, he would leave a bundle of sticks for naughty children. And sometimes he would beat them with it.
Krampus is coming to town
Krampus brings a kind of a yin-yang balance to Christmas as St. Nick’s dark companion. He was originally a pagan creation, thought to be the son of Hel from Norse mythology. But since the 17th century, the two have been linked during the holiday. Traditionally, costumed figures of the two visit houses together on Krampusnacht—St. Nick brings the gifts, Krampus brings the pain.
Mind the sticks
Krampuslaufs can be dangerous places if you don’t know what to expect. The demon of legend would whip people with his birch bundle, and the costumers don’t hold back either. Onlookers have been terrorized and ended up being chased and gone home with bruised shins. But it’s all in good fun, right? At least they only go for the legs.