Culture

Krampus, ancient rituals from Alps

AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER : ALESSANDRO DEL BEN

December 5, Rutte Piccolo, Friuli, Italy.

Ancient customs survived in the rurals parts of Austria, Switzerland, Bavaria, Slovenia, and Italy in the form of dance, art, processions and rituals.

In the Alps, the relationship between the Roman catholic church and paganism has been an ambivalent one. While some customs survived only in the remote valleys inaccessible to the church’s influence.

In the Alpine regions, the Krampus is a mythical horned figure with demonic aspect. Krampus acts as an anti–Saint Nicholas, who, instead of giving gifts to good children, gives warnings and punishments to the bad children. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly in the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains, whips and bells.

The tradition of Krampus has Animism roots. Animism is the worldview that non-human entities (animals, plants, and inanimate objects or phenomena) possess a spiritual essence.

Animism encompasses the belief that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) world, and souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in some other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder, wind, and shadows.

Rutte Piccolo, Friuli

Demonics figures appears from a high fire in the dark forest

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Horns, claws, fur, chains, cowbells and torches, The Krampus come from the mountains  to whip the people with wooden branches

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The Krampus also burst into the village of Tarvisio.

Here Saint Nicholas placates the Krampus and reinstates the order in the village.

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Author & Photographer : Alessandro Del Ben

Lanuvolabianca

 

 

 

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