Krampus 'goat-demons' flood Vienna in festive folklore tradition

A traditional Christmas custom that would give the bravest of men the chills, Krampus, the half-goat half-demon folklore figure, was out and about in the 'Run of the Perchten' ('Perchtenlauf') in Vienna on Sunday, making sure all the girls and boys have been good this year. People wearing the traditional costumes of the Perchten and Krampus spirits met in the Austrian capital, to chase away evil... Еще winter spirits or punish those who have misbehaved this year. «With the bell noise we chase evil spirits away, and with the horse tail we expel them,» explained Kurt Lettner, one of the costumed partipants. «We are driving out the bad winter today, the evil figures, the winter spirits. We are looking forward for everything to run smooth again, and that everybody can start well the winter time,» added Sabrina Pieber while clothed in her demon outfit. Traditionally both the Krampus and the Perchten wear wooden masks and furs. However Perchten tend to carry a bell which they use to scare away spirits and are thus considered to bring good fortune to a house. Krampus on the other hand are evil themselves and punish people who have acted badly, with rods or whips. The Krampus and Perchten folklore dates back to pagan times and the tradition is still observed all over Austria and in parts of southern Germany. In recent years the «Run of the Perchten» has been criticised, as it at times escalates into violence; and especially women, who have only come to watch, have been attacked.

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