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The Ancient Tradition of the Krampus in Dobbiaco

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Maybe the frightening image of the Krampus isn’t exactly the first image that comes to mind when you think of Christmas. This scary half-man, half-animal monster is a very widespread tradition that dates back to the pre-Christian period and is attested since at least the 6th-7th century AD. Throughout the Tyrol and also in Alto Adige, the familiar and jolly Old Saint Nick is accompanied by hairy creatures that look like a cross between a goat and a sheep and resemble the devil.

Have You Been Bad or Good?

Close to the celebration of Saint Nicholas, the Krampus leave their homes in search of disobedient children, as prescribed by tradition. Every year, in all of Alta Pusteria, the Krampus invade the villages and the tradition is an absolute must to kick off the Christmas Season.

The most important “Krampus” event takes place in Dobbiaco on December 8, 2023, around 6:00 pm when about 600 “Krampus” from South Tyrol, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany gather parading through the streets of the town and performing a short performance in the main square, proudly showing their masks (meticulously handmade out of wood) and costumes.

Know Before You Go

It will be up to parents to decide if the parade is appropriate for their children. The organizers guarantee that the Krampus adhere to strict safety regulations and respect the rules put in place. Despite this, the show can be terrifying for small and sensitive children.

Continue reading about the breathtaking Val Pusteria area.