03 December 2008

Krampus

This is Krampus, who will be putting in an appearance at the Munich Christkindlmarkt this Sunday for the first of two Krampus races.

The racing will be done by Sparifankerl Pass, 'Munich's first Kramusgruppe' (that's a photo of one of them on the left from their website).

Spiegel has some background on Krampus:
Krampus gets his name from "Krampen," the old German word for claw. The ceremony was widely practiced until the Inquisition, when impersonating a devil was punishable by death. In remote mountain towns the tradition survived in violation of the church's edicts. In the 17th century Krampus made a comeback as part of the Christmas celebrations, paired with St. Nicholas as the jolly fellow's dark alter ego.
I also found a good piece by American journalist Clay Risen on his own experience of Krampus Day in Austria.

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