Learn About Krampus

What is Krampusnacht?

According to Wikipedia, “The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December.[16] 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.[11] 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 Ruten bundles.[17]

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Who is Krampus?

The legend of Krampus is thought to originate in Germany. According to Norse mythology, he is the son of the goddess Hel, who is a daughter of Loki. Though the traditon of young men dressed as hairy, horned, and goat-like Krampii to scare away the ghosts of winter is believed to pre-date the celebration of Christmas, it came to be intertwined with the legend of Saint Nicholas. In many European Alpine towns it is Krampus who punishes naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good.

A St. Nicholas procession with Krampus, and other characters, c. 1910
Čeněk Zibrt – Čeněk Zibrt. Masopust držíme. Praha : Nákladem F. Šimáčka, 1910

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Who are the Sisters of Silence?

Born the Sisters of Shh at the 2012 Philadelphia Krampus Festival, these icy white women of the forest warn the wayward that Krampus is coming.

According to New Orleans Krampus, “The concept behind Shhh was born in 2012 at the Philadelphia Krampuslauf. Traditionally, in Alpine countries, Krampus costumes are worn by men and most of the legends that showcase women feature them as old hags. Deciding that this wouldn’t work a modern legend was born.

A character was created that merged nature with the idea of a female version of Krampus. Thus, the Queen of Shhh was born. Cloaked all in icy white to symbolize winter she is a figure to be feared. Like Krampus she can lure the naughty away or frighten them back onto a path of good behavior, but the one thing she always does is warn all that Krampus is coming.

Shhh stands for SHe Harkens Him and when you see the women all in white you know Krampus is not far behind. The Queen and Sisters of Shhh always proceed Krampus and try to quiet the crowd to avoid people attracting the attention of Krampus and being punished for being naughty.”

© Copyright 2019 | Ariel Martin
© Copyright 2021 | Krewe of Krampus

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