Etsy‘s Handmade Blog, The Storque, has a wonderful write-up on the Krampus traditions of Alpine Europe today. Krampus dates from the 1600s, roughly, and was known as St. Nicholas’ darker sidekick. Horned and draped in goat fur, wearing cowbells and wielding switches, Krampus was known for punishing naughty children, and the post features some wonderful, if a bit scary, artwork showing him doing precisely that. You can read the entire thing here.
Want more? Apparently there is an entire site devoted to Krampus: Krampusfest.
(And of course, the Krampus and Perchtenlauf traditions helped to inspire our own new local tradition of Wild Hunt mumming, mentioned here.)