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Customs as a means of education? That's why the Krampus shouldn't be in the living room
Customs as a means of education? That's why the Krampus shouldn't be in the living room

Fear, fear, coercion: Visiting the Krampus in your own four walls becomes an ordeal for many children. Why customs shouldn't become a means of education.

Customs as a means of education? That's why the Krampus shouldn't be in the apartment
Customs as a means of education? That's why the Krampus shouldn't be in the apartment

The Krampus - a figure that causes fear and anxiety in most of us. The earliest childhood memories suddenly come up - mostly less beautiful. For some, the Krampus at least had to wait outside when Santa Claus came by and brought presents. With others, the shaggy figure made it into their own living room. Krampus Day is traditionally celebrated on December 5th. The next day is officially St. Nicholas Day, on which Nikolo is allowed to visit some children at home in Austria - especially in rural regions. He is usually accompanied by Krampus or "the Bartl", who symbolizes evil and (unfortunately also) is supposed to rebuke the "bad" children.

Can the Krampus come despite Corona regulations?

One thing is certain: The visit of St. Nicholas is saved for the kids this year. The government specifically included Nikolo in the "legal justification" for the Covid 19 Emergency Measures Ordinance - as an exception to the exit restriction. The Krampus is not mentioned separately. So there was no ban.

Visit from Krampus: are the customs still up to date?

According to tradition, the joint appearance of Nikolaus and Krampus stands for the victory of good over evil. Well, if we're honest, we're more likely to remember that the question "Were you good too?" had quite a prominent position during the two of them visit. At the latest when the Krampus grumbled and tapped the floor with his rod, we got scared. The question arises as to how much tradition should be associated with the upbringing of children and whether the appearance of the Krampus in your own four walls is still up-to-date at all.

That's why the Krampus should stay outside

Tradition or not: Anyone who "threatens" children with the chain-rattling Krampus and allows it to penetrate the child's protected area, namely their own apartment or house, is simply wrong. To justify this by stating that even as a child one would have "survived the Krampus' visit without damage" must be reconsidered at this point. Apart from the fact that even visiting St. Nicholas is a challenge for many children. Especially for small children between one and three years of age, the big, disguised man can be pretty scary. When the kids are prepared for Nikolo's visit and when Nicholas himself acts for the child's benefit and listens to the parents' instructions, nothing can actually go wrong.


Customs as a means of education?

From a pedagogical and psychological point of view, punishment by a Krampus as an educational measure should be completely rejected, says Ursula Wisiak, an expert in medical psychology and psychotherapy at Med-Uni Graz, opposite the standard. Working through the list of undesirable behavior for a whole year is simply not useful. "Such a punishment has a negative effect on the relationship between child and caregiver, whereby the relationship of trust - one has been betrayed! - is tarnished," says Wisiak. Furthermore, childish fears can be massively activated by threatening the Krampus. However, Wisiak also emphasizes that celebrating a traditional day can be an important contribution for children, as they feel the presence of their parents and caregivers. Celebrations and customs give children and adults orientation and give shape to the course of the year.

How do I prepare my child for the visit of Krampus and Nikolaus?

  • Before visiting Santa Claus, talk to the children about the custom, show pictures, tell stories, etc.
  • Role-playing games are perfect for introducing children to real situations. Perhaps the visit can be re-enacted with the parents with a coat and a stick.
  • Make it clear to the children that this is not about reward or punishment.
  • REALLY consider whether the Krampus is allowed into the house. Alternatively, the Krampus can wait in front of the house.
  • When ordering St. Nicholas, talk to the people involved about how they will organize the visit. If necessary, give specific instructions - what can Santa Claus say? What should he leave better?
  • Do not show false shyness during the preliminary meeting. After all, in most cases you pay for the "service"!

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