You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Krampus and…
This furry, red-tongued, chain and/or switch-wielding character has been St. Nicholas’ companion in Alpine regions for millennia, and may even pre-date the jolly old elf. It’s all very well to get a reward for being good, but is that REALLY a deterrent for bad behavior? On December 5–Krampusnacht–Krampus brings Karma to the naughty before St. Nick makes an appearance on his day, the 6th.
Krampus was still a part of Yuletide celebrations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as can be seen in this vintage seasonal postcard…
…but then he disappeared for a while. He’s made a wickedly good comeback in recent years, especially with events such as Philadelphia’s Parade of Spirits. In its 6th year, this community event features a ritual parade of Krampi and other Alpine Yuletide characters, and creative cosplay and costuming (and a fire show!).
This year I got to play the 14 foot “Das Madchen”–the harbinger of doom who appears in the darkest days of the year. Here are some scenes from 2016’s Parade of Spirits (All photos by Neil Kohl)
You have a year to plan (and be good–You-Know-Who is ALWAYS watching!). The Parade of Spirits takes place in mid-December, but if you can’t make it to Philly, have a look on Krampus.com for other Krampus events.
Need ideas for costumes or want to learn more about the Christmas Demon? Check out Al Ridenour’s The Krampus and the Dark Old Christmas.
May 2017 be filled with wishes, not switches! Happy New Year!