"Krampus": The Wild Men
Advent in Upper Venosta Valley
At the beginning of Advent in December, during the so-called 'lull before the storm', fascinating old traditions, archaic noise rituals and various processions take place throughout the entire Alpine region. In the Upper Venosta Valley, this tradition is maintained in its original form right up until the present-day and is very popular among locals and visitors alike.
The Krampus, dressed in black, symbolizes a messenger from Hell, parading through the street with St. Nikolaus. Children in particular enjoy the chasing game with the sinister, masked men adorned with horns and red eyes. The processions and noise rituals form part of the typical folk festivals and keep the children entertained during the period just prior to Christmas.
An interesting form of the Krampus-procession is called "Klosn" and is held in Stelvio, in the Ortles region. Mythical creatures burst into the village while causing mischief. Young boys variously dress up as "Scheller" (bell-ringers), "Esel" (donkeys) and "Teufel" (devils), wearing scary masks and wild garments made of colourful fabrics and animal furs, with heavy bells and making plenty of noise while gaining all-round attention with their antics.