Wed
Dec 21 2011 8:45am

Krampus: Celebrate with Santa’s Evil Twin

Tired of twinkly, saccharine celebrations, but not feeling exactly like being the next Festivus-come-lately? Ah, then perhaps what you want is a winter celebration of child thieving!

Via NPR, we learn:

There are no Christmas lights up at Janet Finegar’s house in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. She does not deck her halls with boughs of holly. Instead, hundreds of rib bones leftover from a neighborhood barbecue hang on a clothesline strung across her backyard. They’re bleaching in the sun.

“They have been scraped, boiled, scraped again, bleached and are now strung on strands and hanging out to dry,” she says. “They smell. Rib bones, as it turns out, are incredibly nasty.”

She will drape the bones over herself and wear them like a grisly tunic. It’s her Krampus costume...

The Krampus is a character from European Alpine folklore, common in Austria and Switzerland. The creature stands on two hooves and has horns growing out of its skull. An extremely long tongue hangs out of its mouth, and it carries a basket to haul away naughty children.

For hundreds of years, the Krampus and Saint Nicholas have worked a kind of good cop-bad cop routine. Saint Nick rewards the good children; Krampus terrorizes the bad.

There’s an awesome video of last year’s Krampuslauf parade in Austria in the snow, and so you can really get the pointy, furry, horrible feel of the thing.

Image from and more vintage Krampus at Pushed Buttons Burning-In blog.

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7 comments
Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I cannot stop being skeeved out by this idea. This is even worse than the shenanigans in The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Christopher Morgan
3. cmorgan
I love this idea. What kid in his right mind is scared of coal? Coal is like a messy toy that you can draw with. But Krampus. Krampus will fix your wagon good.
Dan Totten
4. whereisproctor
Yeah, pretty sure I'm going to have to get to the Krampus parade at some point.
Darren Turpin
5. DarrenTurpin
One of my fave webcomics, PVP online, has been running a Krampus storyline. Starts here :)
Laura K. Curtis
6. LauraKCurtis
I am LMAO at the PVP cartoon. "There must be a horrible lil' puke pretty close." "Oh, wait a second, I had it pointed at myself."
Clare Toohey
7. clare2e
Sometimes, the little bastages need their wagons fixed, I reckon (said with Austro-Swiss accent)- going to look at comic now!
Deborah Lacy
8. DeborahLacy
@MFrampton - I totally agree with you. The description of the preparation fo the rib bones is really creepy. So much work to get a nasty smelly thing. Surely their are faster more efficient ways to get nasty, smelly things...
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