While most families around the world observe the holiday season with stories of Santa Claus, home-cooked meals and heart-warming music, Austria celebrates St. Nicholas’ sinister counterpart, Krampus.
According to The Telegraph, thousands of spectators descend on Hollabrunn Market Square in Austria to take part in Krampusnacht Festival on Dec. 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day.
Krampus is the mythical goat-demon hybrid of Alpine folklore. Whereas St. Nicholas rewards well-behaved children with gifts and sweets, Krampus beats and abducts children who are naughty.
The Krampusnacht festival is accompanied by the Krampuslauf in which over 100 participants dress up as the monster and run through the streets taunting passers-by. The run generally transforms into a raucous party fueled by fruity alcohols according to the Everfest event page.
The Krampusnacht festivals have historically occurred in the western region of Austria, according to the Huffington Post, but are becoming increasingly popular throughout western Europe.