The devil in person: Krampustreiben in Seefeld
Soon it will be that time again: Krampus Day is approaching and you can already hear the eerie ringing of the bells of the Krampuses and devils in the distance. What causes ice-cold shivers and fear sweat for one person, triggers feelings of happiness for another. Daniel (Danny) White is one of the very, very few people who think of Krampus Day with anticipation instead of fear. Even before he had really learned to walk, it was clear to him that he wanted to be a Krampus one day. Of course, this begs the question: Why?!
The wicked are punished: an ancient custom
For all (lucky) people who have never met the Krampus and do not know him: The Krampus is a centuries-old custom from the Alpine region. He is the companion of St. Nicholas and is supposed to punish the bad children as a scary adversary. He wears creepy skins, a scary larva (mask) and always has a rod with him, by which one would rather not be caught. With his hideous appearance he reminds of the devil. The custom of the Krampus belongs to the Advent customs and varies throughout the Alpine region. In our region it begins at the end of November and lasts until St. Nicholas Day.
Group photo of Krampuse
Krampusse are therefore one thing above all: pretty scary. There is hardly a child who is not afraid of the Krampus and this still applies to many adults (although probably few would admit that). I, at least, don't like the Krampus. I prefer to keep my distance from the creepy grimaces, shaggy furs and painful rods of the Krampus. Danny is a different story altogether. He is one of those scary characters who make the alleys unsafe in winter.
Love at first sight... with the Krampus
"I remember my first Krampustag like I do today," Danny tells me. "I was 4 years old at the time." And while all the other 4-year-olds wet their pants at the sight of the Krampus, Danny was completely fascinated. Love at first sight, so to speak... with the Krampus. Immediately after the first Krampus run, Danny set about making his own robe, out of papier-mâché and with a rubber mask. "It didn't look that professional yet," he recalls. "My aunt from Carinthia sewed a coat together for me. It was supposed to be black, but ended up being blue. A funny Krampus, but that was just my first Krampus fur," he laughs. At the age of 6, he ran along for the first time and has remained faithful to the custom to this day. "All the other kids saved up for cell phones and toys, I put every shilling aside so that one day I could buy my first own wooden mask." At age 9, that finally happened. "I had it in bed with me for weeks because I had such a joy with it". A few years later then followed the own fur and for 12 years Danny is now already Obmann deputy of the Pfaffenhofer Tuifl.
Danny White with Krampuslarve
Danny White is Krampus with passion: "When the days get shorter again and it becomes November, it already pulls my goose skin."
"We might be a little crazy"
The Pfaffenhofer Tuifl are a particularly tradition-conscious Krampus club, who put a lot of passion and work into their masks and disguises. The larvae are always made of wood and equipped with horns, the skins must be real. The special thing: there are new Krampus figures every year. While the chairman carves the larvae, the Krampuses painstakingly make many of the robes themselves. This handiwork pays off - even if I prefer not to meet the Krampus, I admire the elaborate dresses and masks. Here is a small selection of the Pfaffenhofer Tuifl from the years 2010 to 2018 (Attention, not for the faint of heart...):
To be Krampus is associated with a lot of effort, effort and also costs. Between 1,500 and 2,000 € cost larva, fur and the devilish accessories.
Krampustreiben in Seefeld: Real Tyrolean tradition
Danny started the Krampustreiben in Seefeld more than 10 years ago. "I always wanted to have a run in Seefeld that shows the custom as it has always been." The Krampustreiben is thus a run with a lot of tradition and customs, as it used to be. Shows, artificial staging and alcohol at the Krampussen before the run are an absolute no-go. "We only invite groups that we know personally and with whom we are friends." Even those who fear the Krampus should not miss it. "The kids should still be a bit scared of the Krampus from the end of November," Danny gives me at the end. "When the parents say, 'Watch what you're doing, or the Krampus will take you away!', the kids should be a little scared, just like we used to be." Therefore, the Krampustreiben is certainly not for the faint of heart (like mine...) and fearful minds should rather admire the spectacle from the third row. We are happy to revive customs with events like the Krampustreiben every year and to maintain time-honored traditions from the region.