Photos By Armando Gallardo, Blinkofaneye
This was the fourth edition of Krampusnacht DC on H Street. Each year features more scary creatures, more scared children and more fire. Hopefully next year will be even more evil. Happy holidays!
If you’re still not sure what Night of the Krampus is, here’s an explanation from Legba Carrefour from our Your Best December feature.
Krampusnacht Und St. Nikolaustag (Night of the Krampus and St. Nicholas Day) December 6
That idiot in the Santa suit you go see in the Mall? Fuck that guy. We Austrians do it better. First, your presents get brought to you by a flying baby Jesus, not some NSA spook who never answers your tear-stained, pleading letters for a pony as he judges whether you are worthy of his love (FUN FACT: I once hid in the closet and popped out when the traditional Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve. We get our presents about eight hours before you American losers and we get to stay up super late) bell was rung to announce that the Christkind had dropped off our presents, and shot arrows wildly at the window he would always fly out of, nearly mortally wounding my father in his ass.).
No, America. We in Austria save our judgements for the eve before and day of December 6. And ours are far, far darker than you not getting a pony.
A Catholic saint whose feast day falls on the sixth, before St. Nick adorned coke cans, was originally a Greek bishop with a penchant for gift-giving. You put out your shoes the night before, and he would show up to your house on December 6, and if you were a wonderful child, you’d wake up to assloads of really quality Austrian chocolate in your footwear. If you were a not-so-wonderful child, a goat demon thingy holdover from pagan tradition named Krampus would show up and put switches in your shoes, so as to encourage your parents to beat the ever-loving shit out of you for being such a little shit. So evil was this dude, that he’d appear with a satchel on his back, filled with children that he planned on taking back to Hell. Maybe even you!
Austria being the fun-loving country that once expelled Hitler and then welcomed him back with open arms (it’s a very clean and very weird place), we also have Krampusnacht, a December 5 celebration of pagan ritual wherein you dress up as said goat-demon thingy, parade around, and get royally shithoused on Austrian beer and have weird sex in dark alleys or whatever it is that we Austrians do.
D.C. Krampusnacht involves a full-scale Krampuslauf (which, yes, sounds like Krampus Loaf, i.e., taking a goat-demon thingy scale dump), the aforementioned traditional, drunk-in-public parade. The costumes should be weird and it boils down to a celebration of the European pagan tradition of dressing up as Wild Men, satyrs and fauns connected to Roman legends that eventually came to represent those who existed outside of the bounds of Christian Europe’s imagination. Let yours run wild and get blitzed.
My dad once dressed up as Krampus (for a full education, please see the Venture Bros. Christmas special, where he makes an appearance) and scared the crap out of me one morning to the point where I was sitting downstairs, weeping, and eating chocolate, as he breathed like Darth Vader and interrogated me as to my various childhood sins. Sounds awful to you? Suck it. You know what Christmas is about? Fucking with kids. Which is about the only real fun you get to have as a parent.