The traditional Krampus and St. Nicholas parade

In many locations in South Tyrol

We’re in late autumn now, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, the Christmas season is approaching and brings with it the traditional Krampus and St. Nicholas parade.

The Krampus, according to the mythology of the German-speaking areas of Europe, are frightening figures descending from the Alpine region, wearing devils' masks and spreading panic to young and old, haunting the town centres.

It is said that the bishop St Nicholas defeated a devil, as a result of which the latter was forced to serve him, hence the name Krampus. That is why, according to tradition, these terrifying characters accompany St Nicholas in the parade dedicated to him.

As every year, between the end of November and the first week of December, myths and legends are intertwined in the streets of South Tyrolean towns and villages.

The procession begins at sunset when the bells of the Krampus announce their arrival. The city centres are therefore invaded by these demonic figures who are looking for adults and children who have behaved badly. To put an end to this terror will be St. Nicholas, who in the traditional procession will follow the Krampus as if to drive them out of the city.

It is an eternal struggle between good and evil, where the winners are the children who receive sweets, biscuits and dried fruit as a gift from St. Nicholas.

St. Nikolaus and the Krampus are traditional and much-loved figures throughout all South Tyrol. n Dobbiaco, Lana, Cortaccia, Brunico and in almost every South Tyrolean town there is a procession with groups of Krampus who wander around the villages making noise and partying - be careful not to be targeted by these wild devils!

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