Krampus showcases his evil ways

Krampus mask at the traditional Krampus run in Bad Goisern, Austria.

Krampus mask at the traditional Krampus run in Bad Goisern, Austria.

Samantha Robbins, Reporter

When I was a child, I went to the Mayor’s Christmas parade in Baltimore City. At that parade, I saw a creature that looked like a possessed goat. I told my mom and she said that monster is Krampus. She elaborated that he would take the children on the naughty list to his lair in Hell where he would either eat, torture the children, or both!

With some research, I learned he became associated with Christmas even though Catholic churches tried to put a stop to him because of his resemblance to the devil. The modern Krampus was created as an opposite of Santa, so that Santa could reward the good children with presents and Krampus went around with a bundle of birch branches to swat the bottoms of the bad children. 

Krampus’ roots date back to pre-christian origins and have nothing to do with Christmas. He was thought to have been a part of pagan rituals for the winter solstice. According to the Krampus legend, he is the son of Hel, the god of the underworld. He originated in Germany and his name derives from the German term Krampen, which means claw. 

In one parade, Krampuslauf, people dress up as Krampus and parade the streets, chasing and scaring the audience. Krampus is celebrated in several countries such as Austria, Slovenia, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. People in the United States also celebrate Krampus. Baltimore has a parade each year in December with many activities and games before and after the march.