You better behave: Tyrolean Krampus tradition
On this day you know again: it pays to be nice all year round. Because they are feared by many, the big, hairy companions of St. Nicholas, the Krampuses. December is Krampus Day and also in our region the tradition of Krampus running and the Perchten is lived.
Krampuslaufen as a tradition
Admittedly, I'm almost always good, but do you know this too? The queasy feeling in the stomach area, when the Krampus Day is getting closer and closer. In the distance you can already hear the muffled bells of the Krampusse. This sound alone and the thought of soon facing the hairy shaggy creatures eye to eye makes me shiver. And of course it gets even creepier the closer the shaggy figures get to me. Creeping, bent and threatening the one, the other run wildly around and drive so my pulse in the height. Hidden at the hand of my friend I become there in the twinkling of an eye again the small 5-year-old girl.
The Krampus resembles in his appearance the devil as well as mystical animal figures, which are found as "Schirchperchten" in the alpine customs. Unlike these, however, who walk during the Rauhnächten, the Krampus belong exclusively to Advent customs.
Krampus drive wagon
Where the Krampus comes from...
The figure of Krampus originates - like many other demonic figures of the Alpine region - from pre-Christian times. The name Krampus comes from Middle High German. Krampen 'claw' means there as much as something lifeless, withered, withered or withered. In the Tyrolean region one speaks more often of Krampelern, Tuifln or Tuifltratzen, derived from the term devil.
Seefeld Krampus display
Krampus "Mask" & fur
Although hardly any adult would admit it: they are feared not only by the smallest fellow human beings.But admittedly: until you have the "outfit" of the Krampus together, you are rid of some hundreds of euros and have but something that lasts a lifetime.
But what belongs to a real Krampus?
Important is the mask, also called "larva". Traditionally, this is made of pine or lime wood and you can have your dream mask made by a carver. The head is crowned by two horns, usually real billy goat, ibex or ram horns. The neck and throat are covered with fur. People look through two narrow slits below the nose. A wearer of glasses has a hard time under the mask made of space founders, because most of the time you have to do without the visual aid and fall back on contact lenses, or just run "into the black".The coat or pantsuit of the devils is made of sheepskin or goatskin and smells accordingly severe. But besides the smell, the person under the suit also has to carry quite a few kilograms: depending on the fur, the disguise can weigh up to 30 kilograms. Putting it on without help? Wrong.
At the belt or by a belt at the back still cow bells or beam bells are attached. Sometimes a chain is also used to rattle. These sounds, as I have already mentioned, already cause the first shiver that runs down the spine.
The tail of the Krampusse usually consists of a horse tail. With his tail or a birch rod the Krampus scares the spectators. And also the one or other burning knees. If you are attending the Krampuslauf for the first time, it's better to watch the spectacle from the back rows first.
Home visits and Krampusshow
Since about the 17th century, the Krampusse are part of the Einkehrbrauch. Accompanied by the frightening figures, St. Nicholas examines and gives presents to the good children, while the naughty ones are punished by the Krampus.
If you want to experience customs up close, the Krampustreiben in Seefeld is the place to be: a unique spectacle not to be missed. With their hand-carved, terrifying masks and impressive choreographies, the Krampus groups from all over Tyrol reinterpret time-honored traditions.