Krampuslauf Graz

(YouTube link)

The Krampus Parade in Graz, Austria stands your idea of Christmas celebration on its ear, right? This video was recorded last December. Read more about Krampus in previous posts at Neatorama. -via Buzzfeed

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Actually, this hasn't got anything to do with Christmas at all. Also, this parades with so many grown up Krampusses isn't spread in all parts of the country, actually mainly in the rather rural parts in the west, as far as I know - I am surprised they have that in Graz. I have most definitely never heard of such a parade in Vienna though.

When I was a child, it was like this (in a small village in the East): on the 5th of December is Krampus, on the 6th of December is Nikolaus. On the evening of the 5th kids would put their shoes (preferably big boots :)) on the inside window ledge, next day they would be filled with sweets and nuts.
Also, on both days Krampus and Nikolaus would come. When it was dark, they would visit the houses, usually one Nikolaus accompanied by 3-5 Krampusses (all of them dressed up kids of maybe 10-14), who would frighten the smaller kids if they were naughty. Eventually the small kids would say a poem, and they would would get some sweets. The Nikolaus and Krampusses would usually get a little money from the parents.
There would be several groups of one Nikolaus and several Krampusses.
It was one of the best holidays, as we could dress up and it also meant some extra pocket money, and of course it was fun. Also, there wasn't much alcohol included, as we were rather young (though I think we were offered some, occasionally - but drinking age in Austria is a topic of its own).
I think the Krampus tradition kind of died out within the last couple of years, nowadays kids seem to be to lazy to pound the streets :)

As for Nikolaus, the figure has the same root as Santa Claus, but he isn't the one to bring the presents on Christmas (24th of December in the evening)- that is done by the Christkindl (christ child), which most children consider to be a little girl, as it's portraited as a blond child in a white dress, looking more like an angel than Jesus :)
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