Krampusnacht is celebrated every year on December 5, the night before the celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas. This holiday is mostly celebrated in Germany, Austria, Croatia, and some other European countries. It is also popular in Australia, and over the years, Krampusnacht’s popularity has grown in North America as well.
Krampusnacht is a celebration of the devil Krampus, who is believed to be a creature that is half-man, half-goat. He is depicted as being hairy with large horns, a goat’s cloven hooves, red eyes, and fangs. However, the depictions of the Krampus vary from region to region. In some depictions, the Krampus is shown wearing chains, and the people wearing Krampus costumes often thrash around in the chains for maximum effect. The chains are to represent the binding of the Devil by Jesus Christ, in Christian mythology.
The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. On the preceding evening of 5 December, Krampus Night or Krampusnacht, the wicked hairy devil appears on the streets. Sometimes accompanying St. Nicholas and sometimes on his own, Krampus visits homes and businesses.
The Saint usually appears in the Eastern Rite vestments of a bishop, and he carries a golden ceremonial staff. Unlike North American versions of Santa Claus, in these celebrations Saint Nicholas concerns himself only with the good children, while Krampus is responsible for the bad. Nicholas dispenses gifts, while Krampus supplies coal and the Rute (sometimes he uses Rute to swat children).
While the origins of the Krampus are unclear, the idea of a horned demonic entity is pre-Christian. Such a pagan entity may have been absorbed into the seasonal traditions to become part of the celebrations leading up to Christmas.
Krampusnacht offers a great alternative to the saccharine sweetness of Christmas celebrations. It is a way for people to celebrate the darker aspects of life. The Krampus is used as a warning for children to behave themselves throughout the coming year. And…it is also just a fun excuse for adults to let loose and party!
According to nationaltoday.com