The Legend of Krampus


Riley Jackson, Reporter

Krampus is a half goat, half demon being, with a mangled face, huge curling horns, and a monstrous, black furry body. Tradition has it that he is the son of Hel, the Norse god of the Underworld. The legend originates from pre-Germanic paganism from before the 12th century, actually having nothing to do with Christmas. His name comes from the German word krampen, which means “claw.” Krampus is said to emerge from the Underworld on the night of December 5th, accompanying Saint Nick, to torment the children who have been naughty all year. Krampus is the yin to Santa Claus’s yang; while Santa rewards little children for behaving, Krampus punishes them for their evil deeds. Legend has it that he whips kids with birch branches, or kidnaps them in sacks and carries them off to his lair to be tortured and beaten in Hades during the Christmas season. This demon serves as a way to scare kids into behaving throughout the year. Krampuslauf, or Krampus Run, is a huge annual parade throughout Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic that keeps this centuries-old legend of Krampus alive, year after year.


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