The Krampus - You Better Watch Out!

The Krampus - The Dark Side of Christmas

Santa Claus.
The jolly fat man in the red suit that gives gifts to children all over the world.
Beloved iconic folk hero of many lands.
Yes, Santa Claus represents our best side as human beings.
Giving freely, caring for others....but....what about the people (or rather the things) he hung out with?

Santa may be a symbol of good, but in early legends and some traditions, Santa was accompanied by a character that sounded (and looked) like it came out of some feverish Tim Burton dream.
Yeah, you had BETTER watch out!

In the pre-Christian Alpine traditions, there was a creature called the Krampus.
If you watch The Venture Brothers or Supernatural , you may have heard the name.
The name Krampus comes from the Old High German word for claw and while Saint Nicholas would give gifts to good children, the Krampus gave warnings and punishments to the bad children.
Kinda like a scary version of "Good Cop/Bad Cop".


Oh yeah, did I mention that Krampus looks like a demon?

Incredible Krampus costume from a Krampustag celebration..at least I HOPE it's a costume...
Incredible Krampus costume from a Krampustag celebration..at least I HOPE it's a costume...

You know that old line, "You better get to bed before Santa comes" that they use on kids?
Well in the old traditions, if you were asleep when Santa got there (and had been good) Santa would leave presents.
But if you were awake...Krampus would think you had been bad and take you away in his sack!
And Santa just looked the other way!
The Krampus would also administer birchings (corporal punishment with a birch rod) to young females.

In later stories, Santa was accompanied by the defeated Devil, in chains.
Santa/Satan...Hmmmmm....

I guess The Krampus didn't make the transition to American culture because the Coca-Cola execs couldn't figure out a way to put a positive spin on a seven foot tall demon with horns, rusty chains and the bad habit of caning young women, who followed Santa around on Christmas Eve.
I just don't think they were trying hard enough.

Of course our culture hasn't totally forgotten the Jolly Old Demon.
I mentioned earlier that he showed up on the Cartoon Network show, The Venture Brothers , in the episode called A Very Venture Christmas .

Krampus also shows up in the old arcade game CarnEvil as the boss for the "Rickety Town" level.
BTW, LA Weekly called CarnEvil "the most twisted video game ever".

G4 did a Krampus Christmas commercial that featured a Krampus that was sorta cute and cuddly compared to the original....

There is a Krampus (named Banjo...?) in the bizarre graphic novel Chickenhare, written and illustrated by Chris Grine.

Krampus kinda appears in season three, episode eight of the TV series Supernatural titled A Very Supernatural Christmas.
In that episode, Sam and Dean call him a name that I really like..."The Anti Claus"....LOL
It turns out though that the villain isn't really Krampus, it's old Pagan gods who have been trying to blend into human society.
( I don't mean to offend any of my Pagan friends out there, it's what was on the show.)

On the December 9, 2009 edition of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert suggested bringing in the Krampus to fight the "War on Christmas" and even had a guest appearance by the Krampus.
You can watch it here:
http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=258156
(The Krampus stuff starts at around 12:00 minutes in)

Although we may not use The Krampus here in the US, on December 5th in Austria, they have Krampustag
Here's a video of with some still shots of the Krampusslauf in 2008....

The Krampus - You Better Watch Out!

He looks kinda like Loren from Angel here
He looks kinda like Loren from Angel here
Sometimes Santa didn't look the other way...he watched!
Sometimes Santa didn't look the other way...he watched!
What would light up a child's eyes more than a Krampus figure, complete with screaming children in his bag?
What would light up a child's eyes more than a Krampus figure, complete with screaming children in his bag?
Ummm...yeah...
Ummm...yeah...
The kid really looks like he/she is having fun huh?
The kid really looks like he/she is having fun huh?
Santa Claus is coming to town....
Santa Claus is coming to town....
Of course there is Krampus beer!
Of course there is Krampus beer!

Krampus - Official Trailer (HD)

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The Krampus Comments 7 comments

100389 profile image

100389 6 years ago from Anderson Sc

Nice Hub


Albertttt profile image

Albertttt 6 years ago


gramon1 profile image

gramon1 6 years ago from Miami

My family is from Spain, but my sister got married to a guy from Holland. Her child was in school and the teacher was talking about Santa. She mentioned that Santa has an evil helper that takes away the bad children. In Holland, Santa's evil helper is from Spain. So, the teacher told the children that Santa's evil helper was dark, ugly, and came from Spain. My nefiew replied happily: "Just like my mother"


grillrepair profile image

grillrepair 6 years ago from florida

i can't believe this stuff! i've never heard of this before but i googled it and theres a bunch of stuff out there on this. thank you. i didn't know.


jellydonut25 profile image

jellydonut25 6 years ago from Buffalo, NY

The Krampus is now my new all-time favorite fictional character!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether

This is way frightening...not sure why people felt it was a good idea to traumatize their children into being good.


sabrebIade profile image

sabrebIade 3 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Me either Kitty. But if you check the other Hub, you'll see that Krampus was far from alone.....

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