Christmas’ Most Terrifying Tradition
Children in Ireland have it pretty soft. If they’ve been bold throughout the year they simply get a lump of coal from Santa. In Eastern Europe, if they haven’t behaved they get a visit from a terrifying, horned, anthropomorphic figure known as the Krampus.
The demon-like Krampus comes from old folklore and is sometimes the travel companion of St Nicholas. But instead of gifts he bestows punishment. Known to be appeased by Schnapps, the Krampus is celebrated during street festivals across much of Eastern Europe. But sometimes the creature prowls the streets alone, terrifying adult and child alike.
Krampus costumes are worn by local men and made from sheep or goat skin, with large cow bells attached to the waist. The masks are usually hand-carved from wood. They are so bizarre and creepy that this year some towns in Eastern Europe have had to tell Syrian refugees not to be afraid.
Here are pictures of Krampus on the streets of Kaplice, Czech Republic.