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Krampus: The Evil, Chain-Wielding Anti-Santa Who Haunts Children At Christmas

While children around the world are waiting excitedly for Santa Clause to climb down their chimneys and deliver them gifts, the children of Eastern Europe wait in fear.

At nightfall on December 5 each year, kids in Germany, Austria and other parts of Eastern Europe prepare themselves for Krampusnacht -- the night of the anti-Santa.

Each year, people dress as the half-goat, half-demon creature in a traditional wooden mask depicting a malformed devil, with horns and oversized teeth. They also wear fur coats, hooves and claws and carry a weapon of some description. Traditionally, these are chains and bells, but they can also include pitch forks and staffs.

Krampus celebration in Munich, Bavaria. Image: Getty Images.

The tradition of Krampus dates back to pagan mythology and is thought to be the pre-Christan version of the devil. In the 11th century, horned devils began to appear in medieval plays and slowly became associated with the underworld. Over time, the mischievous, corrupted character evolved into the creature known today.

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A traditional wooden Krampus mask. Image: Getty Images.

Krampus deals with the naughty and misbehaving children on the night of December 5 and St. Nicholas -- the saint whom Santa Claus was modelled on -- rewards the good children on the following day, December 6.

Today, Krampusnacht is celebrated all over Eastern Europe, where people dressed as the creature parade down main streets in cities and towns and chase after young children who gather to watch.

The annual celebration has also spread to other parts of the world including America and England.

It seems there are real consequences for children who are naughty on the other side of the globe.

Featured Image: Getty Images.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au