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

  • Siese Veenstra / AFP / Getty

    Hopeful Images From 2018

    I’ve made it a tradition to compose an essay of uplifting images from the past year—an effort to seek out and recognize some of the abundant joy and kindness present in the world around us.

  • Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

    2018 in Photos: Wrapping Up the Year

    Time to take a look back at some of the most memorable events and images of 2018. Among the events covered in this essay, part 3 of 3: midterm congressional elections in the United States, hurricanes and typhoons in Asia and North America, Brazil’s election of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro as its new president, and much more.

  • Anton Vaganov / Reuters

    2018 in Photos: A Look at the Middle Months

    Time to take a look back at some of the most memorable events and images of 2018. Among the events covered in this essay, part 2 of 3: Mexico elected a new president, World Cup fans cheered and cried, lava destroyed neighborhoods in Hawaii, and much more.

  • Larry Busacca / Getty for Coachella

    2018 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2018. Events covered in this essay include the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the March for Our Lives gun control rally, Mark Zuckerberg facing Congress, and much more.