Happy (Belated) Christmas, continued : Krampus Parade

Ok, to continue from where I recently (hahaha)  left off in my previous post on our trip to Austria, we jumped in our rental car and raced out of the parking lot to arrive in time for the parade. We made it to the town centre and, in true Italian style although we were not in Italy, parked on the sidewalk and headed up to wait for the parade to begin. There were reams of people and the excitement was palpable — kids were racing back and forth on the street in anticipation, squealing and hollering –so it was hard not to get caught up in it a bit, even though I was cold and hungry. After waiting for awhile (enough time to have grabbed something to eat!), we began to see some movement and the noise levels crescendoed, signalling the start of the parade.

As the first marchers advanced toward us, I was strategically positioned at the back of the crowd, with Frankie in my arms, while Jesse had placed himself front and centre; he began gesturing repeatedly to me to come and stand with him and, as I reluctantly wound my way through the crowd toward him, it was a move I regretted immediately.  The parade was nothing like I had anticipated; there were no jolly elves or solid Santa Clauses ho ho ho-ing down the town’s main road but, instead, masked creatures hissing and imagelunging at the crowd.  Now, I enjoy watching thrillers and don’t mind being scared in the wee hours of the night, but from the safety of my couch!  I have no interest in getting close and personal with any kind of monster, real or otherwise; I went to a haunted house at Universal Studios once and was so scared that for weeks afterwards, I would take detours around mannequins because I was convinced they were preparing to jump out at me and it was not a feeling I wanted to duplicate. Moreover, when I went to Universal, I had time to prepare – in Austria, I was expecting a sleigh to be the first thing coming at me, not a horned devil.

I was shocked, to say the least. And, then, I grew even more shocked as gang of small monsters (who I discovered later were children) charged into the crowd hitting whomever they could reach with sticks carried just for such an occasion.   Immediately, I yelled to Jesse that I was taking Frankie back to our (hiding) spot where I literally tried to blend into the wall while watching in amazement. Jesse, however, appeared to be in his element, laughing and taking pictures and dodging out of the way when the little ghouls came near him.   Clearly, I didn’t share the feeling and was relieved when, over 20 minutes later, the attack finished. We waited arond for awhile longer because the crowd wasn’t thinning out so we believed there was more to come but the cold weather and our hungry bellies prompted us to leave.

When we arrived home later that evening, we could still hear the band playing and the crowd cheering as the festivities continued late into the evening. With each cheer from the crowd came a moan from Jesse, distraught to be missing the rest of the Krampus Parade, but I lay in bed with a smile on my face, content not to be beat with sticks from little children dressed as ghouls….

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9 Responses to “Happy (Belated) Christmas, continued : Krampus Parade”

  1. Those are truly horrifying pictures — they remind me of some of my most disliked monsters on Buffy. Glad to see you finish this post! Back into the rhythm! 😉

  2. Dug says:

    I much enjoy your stories. Excellent writing style. If only more people were able to pen such good stories.

  3. dottoressa says:

    O poor you and Frankie! It is not only very scary but dangerous,imagine all the people start running! I didn’t know for the ritual although was a lot in Austria
    We have similar rituals during the Carnival in Rijeka and Opatija (beautiful carnival ),among all the other ,modern groups,there are so called Zvoncari(or the Bellmen)-under Unesco heritage from recently- with bells,zoomorfic masques,dancing and ringing in pagan ritual,to scary the winter and bad spirits and greet the spring. But they don’t even try to beat anyone.
    I googled our St. Nicolaus and Krampus rituals,but Nicolaus is bishop who gives candies and Krampus is in devils uniform and gives golden twig to children(if they were bad,but everyone gets the twig anyway)
    Dottoressa

    • Rhiannon Sprout says:

      Even under normal circumstances I am not a fan of parades because I worry about something going wrong and there being a stampede of people mowing me down! So it was extra scary! But, actually, Frankie was not scared at all!
      Is it Carnival now? Or very soon? It would be neat to go and observe different rituals and it’s interesting to hear about all the different ones.

      • dottoressa says:

        Carnival time was quite short this year because Easter is very early and Lent started just a week ago. So,bookmark it for next january/february. It is very nice,with a special Children Carnival,too-Frankie would enjoy it!
        There is a very short Carnival during the summer,too
        I had a dinner last week with my friend from Makarska (it is little town between Split and Dubrovnik,at the base of beautiful mountain Biokovo (you can google Hiking in Croatia,Croatia traveller)
        They have also serious Carnival,she and her Brass music band won second prize as White swan with black swans this year (everything homemade!)

        Dottoressa

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