Fear the Krampus: A different kind of Christmas story

\"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,\" The Atlantic reports.

(Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Across Alpine Europe during the Christmas season, men and women adorn themselves in devil horns and carry pitchforks, hellbent on scaring children into behaving.

Krampus is a kind of anti-Santa. He looks like a demon, but is actually St. Nicholas’ helper. According to lore, the two fan out across Europe Dec. 6, or Krampusnacht, spreading both mischief and holiday cheer.

To celebrate, thousands dress up as the devilish creature and parade through towns in Austria, southern Bavaria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Croatia and parts of Italy during the first week of December.

In D.C., revelers gathered on H Street last week to celebrate Krampusnacht. There are also celebrations in American cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelpia and Richmond. Most take place earlier in December, but there will be a few events this weekend and next on the East Coast.

Click here to find a Krampus party near you.

And to see Krampus in all his glory, watch the video below. Notice that not even buckets of snow can stop the anti-Santa from marching down the street:

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