Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Krampus

One thing I'm not sure that anyone at home knows about is how incredibly dangerous it is here on December 5. You're just getting in to the holiday swing of things, all the lights are going up on the hotels, the trees are up and lit around town, the Christmas market is being set up....and then December 5th rolls around and you have to stay inside all day, hiding from the Krampus.

ALL images via Google, I would be too scared to take a picture myself

As you can see, the Krampus are beasts who accompany St. Nicolas on December 5 to punish children who have been bad and to scare children into being good during the Christmas season (children, adults, whatever.....I was scared). They drag chains along the ground and always pull a wheel barrow full of fire. They come out as soon as it gets dark and walk around town scaring.....everyone.

This mostly happens in Austria, also in some parts of Germany,  and unfortunately, the South Tyrol - which is basically where we are, and why we have them lurking around in Cortina...the downfalls of being only an hour away from Austria.

Anyway, I had my first scare last year - my friend Natalie and I were caught outside in the open as the Krampus descended on Cortina from the hill behind our apartments (we had to make a run for it to get inside - and they are not afraid to chase you) - so this year I had written on the calendar in big letters "DO NOT GO OUTSIDE". We were able to watch them come down the same hill, right at 5 o'clock when it was dark, from the safety of our balcony. It was thrilling. But then we really couldn't go outside for the rest of the day was time for a glass of prosecco.