The devil in person: Krampus Festival in Seefeld
Soon it’s time again: The Krampus Day iscoming closer and you can already hear the eerie ringing of the bells of the “Krampus” and devils in the distance. What causes one to shiver and sweat, makes the other feel happy. Daniel (Danny) White is one of the very few people who think of the Krampus Day with anticipation instead of fear. Even before he had really learned to walk, it was clear to him that he wanted to become a Krampus. Of course the question arises: Why?
To punish the wicked: an ancient custom
For all (lucky) ones who have never met the Krampus: The Krampus is a centuries-old custom from the Alpine regions. He is the companion of Saint Nicholas and is supposed to punish the naughty children. He wears a scary fur, a frightening mask and always carries a rod with him. With its horrible appearance it reminds of the devil. The custom of the Krampus belongs to the Advent customs and is slightly different in all Alpine regions. In our region it starts at the end of November and lasts until St. Nicholas Day. You can learn more about this tradition here.
Krampuses are therefore above all one thing: quite creepy. Children are afraid of the crampus and many adults, too (although probably very few would admit it). Well, I am scared of the Krampus. I prefer to keep my distance from the creepy grimaces, shaggy skins and painful rods of the Krampus. For Danny it’s the opposite. He is one of those eerie figures who stroll through the villages in winter.
Love at first sight… with the Krampus
“I remember my first Krampus Day like it was yesterday,” Danny tells me. “I was 4 years old then.” And while all the other 4-year-olds were scared at the sight of the Krampus, Danny was completely fascinated. Love at first sight, you could say. Right after the first Krampus Day, Danny started to make his own “Krampus” robe out of papier-mâché and with a rubber mask. “It didn’t look very professional,” he remembers. “My aunt sewed me a fur, it should have been black, but it turned out blue. A funny Krampus, but wel, it was my Krampus costume”, he laughs. At the age of 6 he particicpated in the Krampus Day for the first time and remained true to the custom until today.
“All other children saved their money on mobile phones and toys, I have put every shilling on the side so that I could buy my first own wooden mask one day. When I was 9 years old I finally could afford it.” A few years later, the own fur coat followed and for 12 years now Danny has been the deputy chairman of the “Pfaffenhofer Tuifl”, a Krampus club.
Danny White is Krampus with passion: “When the days get shorter again and November comes closer, I get really excited.”
“Maybe we’re a little crazy”
The Pfaffenhofer Tuifl are a particularly tradition-conscious Krampus club that puts a lot of passion and work into their masks and furs. The masks are always made of wood and the skins must be real. What’s very special: every year there are new Krampus figures. While the chairman carves the masks, the other men make many robes themselves. This manual work pays off – even if I prefer not to meet the Krampus, I admire the elaborate dresses and masks.
Here is a small selection of the costumes of the Pfaffenhofer Tuifl from the years 2010 to 2018:
Krampus zu sein, ist mit sehr viel Mühe, Aufwand und auch Kosten verbunden. Zwischen 1.500 und 2.000 € kosten Larve, Fell und die teuflischen Accessoires
Krampus Festival in Seefeld: Real Tyrolean tradition
10 years ago, Danny started the Krampus Festival in Seefeld. “I always wanted to have a Festival in Seefeld that showed the custom as it always was.” The Krampus Festival is a festival with a lot of tradition and customs, as it used to be in former times. Shows and artificial stagings are an absolute no-go. “We only invite groups that we know personally and with whom we are friends.” This year, for the 10th anniversary, 20 groups from all over the Alps will come to Seefeld to show their customs. Even those who fear the Krampus should not miss this special event.
“The children should still be a little scared of the Krampus,” Danny tells me at the end. “When the parents say: Watch what you’re doing, otherwise the Krampus will take you, it’s okay when children are a little afraid. Just like we used to be when we were young.” So the Krampus Festival is certainly nothing for scaredy-cats (like me…) and if it’s your first time at such an event, you should rather admire the spectacle from the third row. We are happy to revive customs with events like the Krampus Festival every year and to maintain old traditions from the region.
Krampus Festival Seefeld
When: 06.12.2019, 6 pm and 07.12.2019, 7 pm
Where: Kurpark Seefeld and pedestrian area of Seefeld
All information: Krampus Festival Seefeld
You might also like:
More about the tradition of the Krampus: You better be nice…
Fotos: Pfaffenhofer Tuifl, Anton Hiltpolt, Tessa Mellinger