Translated in English to “Krampus Night” and associated with the [Feast of St. Nicholas], this day is a tradition believed to have started in Germany many centuries ago. The day has grown in scope and is now celebrated throughout many European cities as a not-so-jolly opportunity to punish naughty children!
Krampus is a mythical character, appearing as a sort of horned, devil-ish monster who sometimes has a scraggly, hairy body as well as a long tongue. Sometimes the monster is depicted wearing chains.
While the origins of Krampus may go all the way back to the 7th century, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the character was paired with St. Nicholas in Christian winter festivities in Europe. The creature has been used as a means to scare children into behaving ahead of the Christmas holiday, sometimes carrying a bundle of twigs used to swat children. Krampus may also have the power to take away gifts given by St. Nicholas, replacing them with coal.