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The Christmas Krampus

The Christmas Krampus is a terrifying German Christmas tradition that most tourists donít know about.

December 08th, 2014
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As you have already seen, Christmas is just around the corner, so it is the time of Christmas markets. Sunday December 7th we suggest you to attend to Christmas market which is away from the typical markets that you can find in places such as Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer platz: the Japanischer Weihnachtsmarkt.

The Krampus is a legendary Christmas character in southern Germany. It is usually described as a beast-like, demonic figure with long goats' horns and straggly hair.

What does the Krampus do?

The Krampus punishes children who have misbehaved during the year. This is in contrast to Saint Nicholas who rewards well-behaved children with gifts. Instead of a reward, naughty children are captured by the Krampus and carried off in a sack to his mountain lair.

Traditionally, young men in southern Germany dress up as the Christmas Krampus as a pre-Christmas celebration of this old German folklore. The Krampus generally roams Christmas markets frightening children by rattling his chains and bells. Recently however, the Krampus tradition has caused some controversy.


Although the Krampus has been a part of southern German tradition for centuries in some cities the Krampus has been banned for scaring children into crying fits. Friends of the Krampus however, argue that a little scare isnít necessarily a bad thing.

The Krampus does have regional variations. In more tourist-friendly interpretations the Krampus is seen as more humorous than fearsome. Either way, for tourists, the Krampus is quite an alternative Christmas tradition and an interesting introduction to Germanic folklore. A visit from the Krampus is definitely not something tourists are likely to forget!

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