Krampus: Saint Nicholas' Dark Companion

While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe's Alpine region also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways -- or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack. In keeping with pre-Germanic Pagan traditions, men dressed as these demons have been frightening children on Krampusnacht for centuries, chasing them and hitting them with sticks, on an (often alcohol-fueled) run through the dark streets.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • NASA

    Apollo 11 Moon Landing: Photos From 50 Years Ago

    Fifty photos of the historic Apollo 11 mission on the 50th anniversary of that “giant leap.”

  • Charles Platiau / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Crocodile Kiss, Glacier Blanket, Bear Cemetery

    Cliff diving in Beirut, “swan upping” in London, protests against Puerto Rico’s governor, underwater violin in Malta, flooding in Louisiana, the Winegrowers Festival in Switzerland, and much more

  • Corey Raffel / Audubon Photography Awards

    2019 Audubon Photography Awards

    Some of the best bird photography of the year—a collection of the 2019 winners and runners-up.

  • Ed Jones / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The 2019 Artistic-Swimming World Championships

    Scenes from above and below the water of the artistic swimmers at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in South Korea