Once again this year, the beastly, demonic figure commonly known as Krampus will be on the loose during the Merano Christmas Market. In December, young men will dress up as beasts and be on the lookout for children who misbehaved. At the traditional Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6th, the benign figure of St. Nicholas will be accompanied by demonic fiends wearing devilish masks and wielding bundles of birch branches. The origin of the Krampus figure predates Christianity. The gruesome masks were once used to ward off evil spirits. Over the years, pagan superstition gave rise to a folkloristic spectacle celebrated every winter in numerous Central and Eastern European countries.
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