Torrance, California – Saint Nicholas emerged from a small onion-domed chapel at Alpine Village and announced to several hundred attendees that their unrighteous and sinful ways will be punished. The clanging of distant bells suddenly started up, and a drum began to beat. Then, the Krampuses came. The Alpine Village Krampus Run was on December 7 and started at 6:00 pm sharp.
Krampus is a character from Central European folklore, often depicted as half goat and half-demon. The tradition is often observed in alpine villages throughout Europe. During the Christmas season, while St. Nicholas rewards good children with gifts, Krampus punishes bad children. Aspects of the Krampus folklore actually predate Christianity, but after Christianity became the dominant European religion Krampus and St. Nicholas became intertwined.
After the Krampus was set loose, St. Nicholas approached a young boy in the crowd and asked in an irreverent tone, “Have you been naughty this year?”
The boy answered, “No, I’ve been good.”
St. Nicholas gasped, “I think you’re lying to me. Ooooohhh Krampus, I found a boy who needs to be punished!”
A Krampus emerged, holding a broom with twigs as the bristles. He lightly “spanked” the boy. It was all in good fun because this is how Krampus punishes the unrighteous apparently; spankings!