THE KRAMPUSES ARE OUT…
Christmas time is just right for various kinds of animation, whether planned or otherwise. In Bad Ischl, where the traditions are well established, participants in Christmas in Europe had a glimpse of traditions which are still very much alive. The Christmas market around the church, the exhibition of Christ-child cribs to be found in various shops in the town, the open-air bars run by the local Lions Club dispensing large quantities of ‘Glühwein’, the numerous Advent parties, concerts, shows, and of course on December 5th, on the eve of St Nicolas’ Day, the appearance of the ‘Krampus’ – a hideous person dress in animal skins, carrying little bells and armed with a whip, who terrorises especially girls. Apparently he is the equivalent of the ‘Bogyman’ who accompanies St Nicolas on his rounds – though even more frightening. And there is a whole band of ‘Krampuses’, but the Austrians know that the Krampuses’ bark is worse than their bite!
The Krampuses weighed into the crowd.
But sometimes they are very nice …
AND SAINT NICOLAS TOO !
As an addition to the exhibition, at the inspiration of Kurt Manetzgruber, a teacher at the Bad Ischl school and Hans Russegger’s right hand man, the 350 children from the town’s seven kindergartens were invited to the exhibition to meet St Nicolas in the flesh. This was a real adventure for the kids! The saint himself got them to sing before giving them an individual blessing and a fine bag of sweets provided by the Bad Ischl tourism school; then they were served a bowl of hot chocolate in a neighbouring room.
St. Nicolas, surrounded by little children from Bad Ischl, speaks to
them to encourage them to be well-behaved! Adults look on with a tear
in their eye!
And Kurt Manetzgruber does not hesitate to lend a hand with
distributing the bags of sweets.