Learn more about this Central European winter festival custom.
Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved.
This contrasts with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.
The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated it as having pre-Christian origins.
In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate. Such events occur annually in most Alpine towns. Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten.
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