4 Newspaper Accounts Of Krampus Celebrations

In recent years there has been a rediscovery of Krampus, but what did the people of the recent past actually think about this old crank?

Satan’s Festival

A newspaper article printed in 1936 gave an account of how Krampus Eve, December 5th, was celebrated in Vienna. It begins with a huge festival. There is ice skating, dancing, and theater. Houses are decorated with giant Krampus and Saint Nicholas figures. Everybody is out celebrating.

The outdoor celebration ends at 7 o’clock for the children. They return home where a friend of the family, dressed as Krampus, visits them. The children are gathered and Krampus, holding a large cane, recites all the sins of each child for the past year.

The children, greatly upset, are then saved when their father, dressed as a bishop, enters the room and banished old Krampus. The children are given candy and celebrate until bedtime.

Window Stockings

As with all holiday customs, they are different from region to region and even from family to family. In one account shared in 1947, Krampus was Saint Nicholas’ assistant. Together, they went from window to window, filling children’s stockings hung by the windows with what they deserved.

If the child was well behaved, his stocking was filled with fruits, candy, and little toys. On the other hand, if the child had been naughty, Krampus would fill his stocking with coal, potatoes, and onions. While adults might see it as a good start to a soup, children, no doubt, were beyond disappointed.

Beat Them Into Goodness

In some homes, Krampus would get physical with the naughty children. In a report published in 1939, it was said that Saint Nicholas, portrayed as an angel, and Krampus, the Devil, would go around from house to house. Good little children were given praise. Naughty children were beaten with a birch stick to make them reconsider their ways.

The next day, all the children were encouraged to write a letter to the Christchild and ask for things they would like to get on Christmas Eve.

Think Of The Children

By 1953, there was a huge movement to get rid of the Krampus part of the Christmas celebrations. The head of Vienna’s kindergarten system sent out a warning to parents about the negative effect of Krampus on little ones.

A leaflet was passed out, detailing why parents need to let go of the Krampus tradition. Titled “Krampus Is An Evil Man,” the author stated, “There is too much fear in the world already, unemployment, high taxes, not to mention the atom bomb. Let’s begin by throwing out Krampus.” Getting rid of Krampus certainly proved easier than trying to get rid of the atom bomb.