December 25, 2012 | By Francis Whittaker
Weird and wonderful Christmas traditions around the world

Austria: The Krampus

Austria: The Krampus (© AP Photo/Kerstin Joenssen)
  • Norway: Hiding brooms (© Carson Ganci/Design Pics Inc./Rex Features)
  • Catalonia: Caganer (© Agencia EFE/Rex Features)
  • Catalonia: Cagatió (©
  • Austria: The Krampus (© AP Photo/Kerstin Joenssen)
  • Venezuela: Roller-skating to Mass (© Caroline Schiff/Getty Images)
  • Ukraine: Spiders and webs (© AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
  • Czech Republic: Shoe throwing (© AP)
  • Italy: La Befana (© EPS/Rex Features)
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Austria: The Krampus

No, this scary beast isn't an extra from Lord of The Rings. He's called the Krampus, and in Austria he's the unlikely evil sidekick of that relentlessly generous bringer of Christmas cheer, Santa Claus. While Santa rewards good children by delivering gifts to them, the nightmarish Krampus threatens and punishes the bad ones, and is often depicted carrying unruly kiddies away in his basket ready to dump them into the fiery depths of hell.

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