“He sees you when your sleeping.
He Knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad of good,
So be good for goodness sake.”
Whilst these lyrics might remind us all that Santa Claus is coming to town, they would not be out of place with another character from yuletide folklore. The only difference is that this particular figure from Central European Folklore is one you’d rather not experience.
Whilst Saint Nicholas spreads Christmas joy to millions of children around the world with presents to reward their good behaviour, the Krampus deals with the naughty children. Consider the Krampus to be the Yin to Father Christmas’s Yang. If the Krampus paid a visit to mischievous children, then they would be wishing that had been “good for goodness sake.”
The legend of Krampus has been a centuries old tradition where Christmas celebrations begin in early December. According to traditional Central European folklore, Krampus shows up on the 5th December, the day before St Nicholas Day. This is known as Krampusnacht. Children would leave their shoes outside their door that night. They will either wake to see if their shoes are filled with presents or wooden birch rods. If they see rods, then the Krampus had paid them a visit.
"He will either whip you in order to beat the wickedness out of you or (in the worst circumstances) drag you to hell with him. "
The half man, half goat demon has just given children the chance to change their ways before he visits again. He will either whip you in order to beat the wickedness out of you or (in the worst circumstances) drag you to hell with him.
It is a tradition that has certainly kept many children on their toes. Cards depicting the Krampus were widely produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries spreading the myth further. “Greetings from Krampus” would depict the demon either bundling children into his sack or preparing to hit children with a bundle of birch.
All of sudden the possibility of finding a lump of coal in your Christmas Stocking doesn’t sound as bad now does it?