The Origins of Krampus

Hel had a son he named Krampus. Over the years, he became associated with Christmas. Why?

Half goat, half human, all demon. The beast has no problem following people of all ages in the streets reminding them of their evilness. Why?

Krampus’ Age

Dating back as far as pre-Christian Alpine Traditions, Krampus is a character that introduced itself far back in humankind’s past. He existed well before Saint Nicholas made its apparition in our history to create Christmas.

Krampus
Krampus

“There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved. The birch – apart from its phallic significance – may have a connection with the initiation rites of certain witch-covens; rites which entailed binding and scourging as a form of mock-death. The chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to ‘bind the Devil’ but again they could be a remnant of pagan initiation rites.” — Anthropologist, Maurice Bruce, 1958

Many believe Krampus to be of pagan origins of course since it dates back to pre-Christian times in its origin countries of the Alpine: Austria, Bavaria, Slovenia, Hungary and even Northern Italy to only name a few. 

If You Can’t Beat Them – Join Them

Despite the effort of the Church to eliminate the image of Krampus in the Alpine region due to its appearance resembling the devil, he persisted. Krampus had too much of a following due to the exchange of cards called, Krampuskarten and even a parade forged after a “Krampus Run” named, Krampusnacht.

Krampus is a character that once associated with Saint Nicholas, the patron of children, persisted in Europe and even slowly made its way across the ocean to North America.

Nikolaus und Krampus
Nikolaus und Krampus

Due to an impossible task to eliminate Krampus originating from pagan origins, the Church agreed to make him the opposite of Saint Nicholas who became popular in the eleventh century.

Once that occurred and accepted by the people, the behavior of Krampus took place. The anthropomorphic creature would carry chains to remind people of his attachment to hell, a wicker bag on his back to carry naughty children, birches used as a whip to hurt the bad children as well as bringing them back to his lair to eat them. 

Horror Before Christmas

The horned creature now part of the Christmas holiday, is representative of blackmailing children into behaving throughout the year so Krampus would not kidnap and eat them.

Quite a mean psychological play if you ask me. However, I believe the regional people where the origin of Krampus is from might know a different version and not terrorize the children as much as it did me when reading about him.

Gruss vom Krampus
Gruss vom Krampus

The simple thought of a child afraid of making a mistake and Krampus comes to eat him or her had me wonder about the significance of the creature. 

Many holiday cards and Krampus art show children relentlessly trying to close the door at Krampus to save themselves. Some art show Krampus putting a kid in his wicker bag while others show the beast whipping children. 

It has you think twice before committing an abominable act. Nonetheless blackmail, it is still to this day, a creature that is most beloved by the people of Europe and his popularity is spreading to North America and the phenomenon is growing every year in popularity.

Today’s Krampus

Krampus has now a place in our culture. Despite its appearance, the Church desperately trying to silenced him, the character that Krampus represented changed but its popularity remained intact and is growing again.

Krampus Festival
Krampus Festival

People are curious about Krampus and are willing to learn about him. Krampus is, for sure, meant to be part of humankind history and I surely hope that we come to know the creature more in the years to come.

Merry Krampus Vol.1 2018 by Alexa Wayne
Merry Krampus Vol.1 2018 by Alexa Wayne

*** Merry Krampus Anthology Available on Amazon for $2.98 ***

The OCD Vampire,
Alexa Wayne


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