When the Krampus and Perchten get around in Salzburg
When the Krampus and Perchten bypass Christmas in Salzburg, then hell is going on in the Gnigl district. Some years ago we came into contact with the alpine tradition of St. Nicholas for the first time. At that time one interrupted Group of Krampussen unexpectedly our dinner in a Salzburg suburban hotel. Since then we have been fascinated by the harsh fellows, St. Nicholas in the time before the 6. December on his way through the Salzburg Voralpenland accompany. They look wild, the shaggy creatures with their white, gray or black skins, the loud cowbells or chains that beat on metal containers and the gruesome masks with horns of local animals from the Alps.
When the Krampus and Perchten bypass - a custom from the Middle Ages
The tradition of the Krampus and Perchten comes from the Middle Ages. At that time the church promoted the dramaturgy of the frightening characters who accompanied Saint Nicholas on his parades. Nicholas, on the other hand, expressed his benevolence to all those who had kept the commandments during the year. In Salzburg and the surrounding area, the Krampus look terrifying. The original Krampus with his fur and red head is rarely seen. When the Krampus walk around the Salzburger Land, one sees the most terrifying masks.
Often, their appearance has mingled with that of the Wildperchten, which during the Raun nights after the 21. December cast out the spirits of winter. Do not forget in this context the Schönperchten, which also roam through the villages of the Salzburger Land during the Raunächte at the end of December, beginning of January. They announce the spring as beauty spirits. Actually, this is another custom that is older. But in the course of history, the boundaries between the Krampussen, the Perchten and the Schönperchten mixed in the folk tradition of the Alpine foothills.
Grim masks when the Krampus and Perchten go around Gnigl
Of course, we don't see peaceful fellows at the Krampus Run in Gnigl, a suburb of Salzburg. This is where things really go. When the Krampus and Perchten get around Salzburg, all hell breaks loose. If a Kramperl hadn't run to his girlfriend before the start of the Krampus run through the cordoned-off street and with the clatter of cowbells on his back to get a kiss, I would hardly have suspected such young fellows under the masks. These are terrifying. Some of the wild fellows appear to me tall in their skins, which they shake to the din of the cowbells. They have the bells strapped to their backs.
The Russian girl sitting on the barricade in front of us doesn't seem to mind that every few minutes another junk with a wild face and long horns is magically drawn to her. When the Krampus and Perchten get around, it's not going to be gentle. Some try to scare it, others run their cow and fur tails over her face. The little one can't get enough of it. The father next to her laughs at every Krampus who approaches his daughter.
Wild witches go with the Krampuses
The witches can also be seen. One of them leaps and flips before approaching us. She swings her broom menacingly in the air. It moves haltingly and with uncoordinated leaps towards us. Her nose sticks out like a hook from her wooden face, which is covered by a pointed cap that slides further into her face with every step. The witches are in no way inferior to Krampussen and Perchten in terms of unpredictability.
It is a hell of a spectacle when the Krampus and Perchten bypass the Christmas season in Salzburg's Gnigl district. Crowds line the Krampus' path, and in some places people are so crowded that it is almost impossible to find a way. There is a tension in the air that makes the crowd vibrate. What an experience! How nice that this tradition is still so alive in Salzburg.
The spectacle when the Krampus and Perchten bypass. you can experience it in Petar's video.
Well worth a visit if the Krampus and Perchten bypasses in Salzburg.
You can see the Krampuses in Gnigl at:
Nov 26, 2022 (Sat)
- from 19:00 a.m.
Krampus run in Gnigl
The Krampus Run in Gnigl runs from Turnerstraße, where the groups gather, along Linzer Bundesstraße (towards the city) and Schillinghofstraße. There you can see up to 900 Krampuses, Nikolos and basket bearers up to mischief. Kid friendly event!
For overnight we recommend this Naturidyll Hotel Hammerschmiede in Anthering *, which is only about 15 minutes outside of Salzburg in the middle of the forest.
Arrival by plane, train and bus
Accommodation in Salzburg
Hotels in Salzburg * you can also conveniently book online via booking.com.
Our travel tips for Salzburg
These travel tips we tested ourselves. Maybe there is something for you?
Christmas tips for Salzburg
- Christmas in Salzburg
- Three Christmas markets in Salzburg from romantic to noble
- Salzburg for Christmas in the Stiftskeller
- Salzburger Christkindlmarkt on the cathedral square
- Christmas on the fortress Hohensalzburg
- Silent Night, Holy Night & Salzburg
- Romantic Christmas market in Hellbrunn Palace
- Experience the Christmas spirit in Stiftskeller St. Peter
- Customs in Austria in winter
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Source When the Krampuses and Perchten get around: On-site research. We would like to thank Salzburg Tourism for the invitation to this trip. However, our opinion remains our own.
Text Krampus: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline