I’d heard that, out in the countryside, the whole Krampus tradition is a lot more . . . enthusiastically celebrated than it is here in Vienna. I’d seen videos of major gatherings of Krampus (Krampi? Krampuses? Die Krampus?) out in Graz and other parts of Austria. But I’d never actually seen a Krampus in Vienna, other than on a candy wrapper.
I was lucky enough, today, to have a friend tell me that there was going to be a Krampus gathering in her neighborhood (out in Oberdobling, on the northwest side of Vienna) tonight. She didn’t know what to expect (and neither did I) but since Jo was happy to watch the boys, Dan & I decided to check it out.
We found our way out there, met up with our friends, and witnessed a gathering of Krampus. It was pretty cool. It consisted of a bunch of guys (who all appeared to be young adults) dressed up in elaborate and quite intimidating-looking Krampus outfits. (There was also a St. Nicholas in attendance.) Most of the Krampus costumes had massive goat-like horns on top, making some of the guys (horns included) about 8 feet tall. (Seriously, it was kind of amazing that no one ended up getting impaled.) Other than Krampuses, there were a lot of other Austrians in attendance to watch (and get looked over and scared by) the Krampuses. There was also a fire-breather, live music, some Christmas lights and a lot of Punsch consumed.
After the hour or so of wandering, looming Krampuses, things broke up and the Krampuses took off their masks, grabbed beers, and hung out, chatting with the crowd and posing for pictures. (At this point, with the huge, horned masks under their arms or slung over their shoulders, it was even more impressive that no one got stuck with one.) After a while, and after getting a picture of our own, we got chilly and headed home, but I’m really glad we got to see some “real” Krampuses here in Austria. If I ever get the chance, I think it would be fantastic to go out to Linz or Graz and see a really big Krampuslauf outside of Vienna.