Krampus: Saint Nick's 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 the last few decades, parts of Austria have seen the founding of numerous village Krampus associations that parade without St. Nick, frightening children on Krampusnacht, chasing them and hitting them with sticks, during an (often alcohol-fueled) run through the dark streets.

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