The Los Angeles Cacophony Society held its first Krampusfest last year, and are hoping to stage an even bigger and better celebration this year. To that end, they have enlisted the help of Austrian “part-time Krampus” Martin Zehentner. Zehentner, his sister, and his nephew will be the first real European Krampuses to try out the American festival.
Zehentner is a member of one of Salzburg area’s oldest troupes, the Alt Gnigler. Mindful of traditionalist concerns, Zehentner says that with first online contact, he had misgiving about any transatlantic endeavors, wondering if Americans would “really understand our traditions—or will the Krampus be reduced to a Halloween horror figure?” Most Austrians, he says, are generally unaware of America’s love affair with the Krampus, or if they are, might expect it to result in something closer to “slasher movies than anything genuinely linked to our customs.” When he mentioned our efforts to bring the tradition to the US, most in Alt Gnigler regarded it as “madness—but in a positive way.”
“At first,” he says, “they were skeptical. But, later, fascinated.” Realistically, he says his fellow troupe members don’t expect the California group to mirror the look and feel of Alt Gnigler. Noting how our American-made masks deviate from the Alt Gnigler norm, Zehentner concedes, “This is absolutely okay.There are regional influences and differences in Austria too.”
Krampusfest in Los Angeles will run from December 6th through the 13th. Read more about the preparations for this year’s events at Boing Boing.