Everybody knows Santa Claus but who knows is companion „Krampus“? Santa Claus has long been the symbol of Christmas, bringing joy and presents to all the good girls and boys. But children in Austria also know his horned helper…
Rather than giving presents to children, Krampus gives the bad ones beatings with a whip (made from birch sticks and horsehair) and nightmares. As for the really, really naughty kids, Krampus drops them in a wicker basket on his back and takes them away to his lair – the underworld.
So on Krampus Night, the eve of December 5, children took care to not attract the attention of the intimidating beast, in hopes that Santa Claus would bring presents on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6 .
Traditional annual parades also known as Perchtenlauf are still held throughout Austria in which young men dress up in fur suits and carved wooden masks to chase people through the streets snarling and shaking chains at onlookers.
Image: © Zell am See-Kaprun Tourismus – http://zellamsee-kaprun.com / Walter Schweinöster