The Legend of Krampus

The Christmas Killer

December 14, 2021

His name is Krampus. While he is not known by many here and now, he is still well known in Australia, Germany, and elsewhere where he has been frightening children for hundreds of years. Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon that comes to town on December 5, a night known as Krampusnacht in some places in Germany. Naughty children have more to fear than coal on this day because Krampus is known for beating or even eating naughty children. 


Krampus is believed to originate from Germany, in a pagan celebration of the winter solstice, much like the one that formed Christmas. Santa and Krampus were picked up from there to later join Christian traditions. Originally, Santa would arrive on December 5th, the same night as Krampus, leaving presents for the good children and a birch branch for the naughty ones. Krampus would beat the naughty kids, and he even stole some away in his sack to eat.


Today, the legend of Krampus and the celebration of Krampusnacht still lives. In this celebration, kids are chased around by a bunch of drunk adults who are dressed in costume as Krampus. This is meant to scare kids into being nice, as well as to let adults have some fun. This tradition has been practiced for hundreds- if not thousands- of years, with kids eventually growing up to play as the creature that once frightened them. 

Krampus in America

Many students at Piedmont Highschool do not know who Krampus is. This makes sense considering none of our Christmas traditions here in America revolve around Krampus or his nature. Despite this, he is becoming reasonably known in America, as pop culture uses him as the basis of movies, songs, art, and more. Those who know of Krampus here either just know of him as the ‘Murder Santa’, or are one ask away from happily explaining the whole holiday surrounding him.


Whether or not you believe in Krampus, or even if you hadn’t heard of him until today, it’s still good to have learned more about this scary tale. Now as you go to sleep this December, remember to keep one eye open and to be nice. Because you don’t know when a half-goat half-demon will sneak over to enact some Christmas karma. 




Magazine, Smithsonian, and Jennifer Billock. “The Origin Of Krampus, Europe’s Evil Twist On Santa”. Smithsonian Magazine, 2015, Accessed 13 Dec 2021.

“Meet Krampus, The Christmas Devil Who Punishes Naughty Children”. HISTORY, 2021, Accessed 13 Dec 2021.

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