Masked Krampus creatures parade through Europe in search of children


Every year hundreds of masked men parade through Europe in an annual event that has been frightening children for centuries.

Krampus, also called Tuifl or Perchten, is a demon-like creature represented by a fearsome, hand-carved wooden mask with animal horns, a suit made from sheep or goat skin and large cow bells attached to the waist that the wearer rings by running or shaking his hips up and down.

Krampus has been a part of Central European alpine folklore going back at least a millennium, and since the 17th-century, Krampus traditionally accompanies St. Nicholas and angels on the evening of December 5 to visit households to reward children that have been good while reprimanding those who have not.

In the last few decades, the western Austrian region of Tyrol in particular has seen the founding of numerous village Krampus associations with up to 100 members each and who parade without St. Nicholas at Krampus events throughout November and early December.

In Bavaria, Krampus Catches the Naughty
In Bavaria, Krampus Catches the Naughty

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