This year, a comedic Christmas thriller called Krampus hit theaters, leaving many viewers wondering, “Uh…what is a Krampus?” People are also asking themselves, “Why did Adam Scott agree to do this? His career was going so well!”
Unfortunately, we only have the answer to the former. Here’s everything we know about Krampus. He’s essentially the bad cop to Saint Nicholas’ good cop in Alpine folklore.
In Austro-Bavarian culture, it’s said that Saint Nicholas brings gifts to every household. That’s how it goes in almost every country’s take on Christmas.
But in this version, he’s accompanied by a cranky monster named Krampus. It’s his job to punish the kids who were naughty this year.
Krampus looks somewhat similar to the devil, since he has the horns and cloven hooves of a goat. He is also known to carry a switch to beat naughty children with, and a basket to carry them to Hell if need be.
Historians believe that Krampus’ origins can be found in the pre-Christian religions of the Alpine area. The Horned God was a popular pagan deity that was worshipped by witches.
His goat-like appearance was adapted into the Christian depiction of Satan that we know today.
After the Austrian Civil War, the fascist Dollfuss regime banned all celebration of the Krampus tradition, since he was seen as a Satanic figure.
But around the late 1990s and early 2000s, Krampus returned. Every year, there are several Krampus parades in Austria.
Merry Krampus, everyone!
It’s kind of strange that Krampus has made a comeback, considering that he’s a creature who supposedly beats kids with a switch. But I guess when it comes down to it, sometimes Christmas needs a little bit of naughty to counteract all that nice.