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Bad Children Beware, Krampusnacht Walk is Saturday

The Carytown tradition returns for the 11th year of scooping up the bad children. Please note, there will be no actual scooping up of bad children, most likely.




In a festive season chock-full of lighthearted characters like Santa, Frosty, and gingerbread men, one of the last things that comes to mind is a horned, devil-like creature as a symbol of the holidays. Enter Krampus–and a walk in Carytown this weekend dedicated to the mythical beast–RVA Krampusnacht.

Though Krampus may look like a version of the Devil, he’s actually part of a rich, centuries-old, Yuletide tradition that we here in the United States are only recently catching onto. Briefly, Krampus is the furry, fanged, clawed, and horned beast that acts as the counterpart to Saint Nicholas (That’s Saint Nicholas the bishop, not our more familiar ‘Santa Claus’ who doesn’t show up until the 1820s). Krampus makes the rounds throughout the many Alpine villages in Austria, southern Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and other mountainous regions of central Europe.

While the saint rewards the good children with sweets or presents, it’s the Krampus who deals with the naughty little boys and girls. In American Christmas tradition, as in many others, the concept of punishment for terrible children has faded to mere symbolism, or been forgotten entirely: Santa Claus rewards the good kids, while supposedly the naughty ones get a token lump of coal. In reality, the rotten little bullies of the world will probably still get his or her heart’s desire from a sympathetic Santa and a consumer-driven society. Not so in this Germanic tradition, where bad behavior results in moral retribution and comeuppance! The Krampus comes for those naughty children, and though it’s usually only a scare tactic – with much shaking of large, clanging bells, rusty old chains, and swinging birch switches – sometimes a particularly nasty little brat gets taken away in a wicker basket or burlap sack, never to be heard from again – or so they say! Over time, the more frightening elements of the Krampus legend were toned down, until by the late 1800s, he had become a folklore character that parents used to warn their misbehaving children every year prior to Saint Nicholas Day – a Yuletide boogieman, as it were.

This year’s walk has a new starting and ending location at the top of Carytown at Aquarian Bookshop. The Krampus will begin gathering around 5:30 before marching down to the Byrd and then returning back for photos and donuts from Maria’s Apple Cider Donuts. If you want to participate check out the common sense rules you need to follow on their Facebook event page.

There are a whole slew of Krampus related events starting to tonight.

Thursday, November 30th – Panel Discussion and Mask Making Workshop at Gallery5 (200 W. Marshall St.) 6-9pm
Ticket Link available for one or both events:

$10 for the panel discussion
$25 for mask making workshop
$30 combined ticket for both!
Panel Discussion 6-7pm w Steven Warrick, Madame Onça, and Murphy Lawless. Hosted by Brit Austin.
Mask Making 7-9pm w Steven Warrick.

Facebook Event

Friday, December 1st Yuletide Monsters art opening at Gallery5 with Burlesque Show and Live Music! Bring new unwrapped toys for our SCARES THAT CARE toy drive! 5-11pm, 200 W. Marshall St.

FREE to enter with 30 person Group Art Show, Burlesque Variety Show produced by Sally Stardust/hosted by Ego Von Hubris , Vendors, Tarot Readers, Toy Drive, storytelling and songs by Madame Onca, with bands GIRLSPIT and The Embalmers, Food Truck!

Saturday, December 2nd Holidaze Market at Gallery5 (11am-4pm) Shop local vendors and bring new unwrapped toys for our SCARES THAT CARE toy drive! 

Saturday, December 2nd – Krampus Walk in Carytown (5:30 meet up at Aquarian Bookshop!) Costume vendor, Catleesi’s Creations and food truck, Maria’s Apple Cider Donuts!

Sunday, December 3rdDrink-N-Draw Krampus Edition! Join Brit Austin at Sinisteria Unleashed (Switch RVA) for a special edition of this life drawing series with a Krampus model. 6-8PM

$20 ADMISSION includes one drink of choice (non-alcoholic options available), art materials, and education! All skill levels encouraged! Feel free to bring your own art supplies.

More events here.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.