Krampus running

In the alpine region there are still remnants from pagan or, more friendly, pre-christian times alive. The Krampus, in some traditions escorts of Bishop Nikolaus, are connected to the rite of the 12 days or Rauhnächte, where the expulsion of ghosts was tried with dances of wild, disguised figures. December 5/6 is taken into this old tradition, and the Krampus are now played by young men, who take the chance to wear threatening masks and – behave badly, horrify bystanders etc. Maybe 10 years ago this was really bad, resulting in as many innocent victims with injuries and traumas, now it has calmed down a bit. And while the group of Krampus now is accompagnied by their own security, trying to avoid assaults, the masks of the Krampus seem to be more and more influenced by horror movies. Now that is real horror.


  1. Ah, the baleful influence of horror movies may be having its effect on an ancient German tradition, but, take heart – at least you have ancient traditions. Canada isn’t even, officially, two hundred years old. If you want true horror, just think, should human society last long enough, our ancient traditions will be based on 20th, 21st century pop culture!

  2. I like the first photo very much: the blur tells of the energy, motion, terror and behaving badly.

    Regarding Krampus and the influence of horror movies etc.: Stephen’s comment is thought-provoking, I am not so sure there will be any difference around here in some 200 years – Krampus will look like Wolfman then and some horror movie traditions will have been mingled with more ancient traditions – perhaps that’s simply how life goes? 😉

    Happy Nikolaus from the not-Krampus-part of Germany!

  3. @Stephen, Martina: Of course there is always development (and probably always grumpy types like me who disapprove), still it’s too much downgrading of cultural identity. And re. traditions in Canada: The indigenious canadians do have a rich tradition, it’s just that they are out of broad public perception…

    At least to a certain extent our roots and the roots of the place we are inhabiting is important. If we completely loose connection to our past, how shall we shape our future?

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