Austrians and many other European nations use the furry, horned, whip-wielding monster Krampus as a way to ensure children behave from one Christmas to the next.
Austrians have a tried and true way of keeping their children in line from one Christmas to the next. Its name is Krampus.
Great Big Story has an entertaining video explaining the history of Krampus, which has its own day on Dec. 5. On that day the furry, horned beast visits children with Saint Nick. The good kids get a bag of candy from Saint Nick and the naughty children get scared by the furry, horned Krampus, who uses a whip and fear to inspire the naughty ones to be little angels.
Rick Steves, the Pacific Northwest’s most famous traveler, has spent time in Austria during Christmas. He explains that Krampus Day is part of the slow march toward Christmas that begins early for Austrians and touches “all the holiday bases.” The tradition, which dates to the fourth century, is beginning to get some notice and work its way into popular culture in the United States. The Seattle Immersive Theatre is currently putting on “Krampus Christmas.” In the production Krampus makes sure the naughty have what is coming to them.
Be good kids. Or Krampus might have to start taking trips across the Atlantic Ocean.