Christmas time is not always about peace and joy. While children wait in their beds for Santa Claus to deliver their presents, there is a darker figure looming out in the cold: Krampus. The legend of Krampus comes front and center in the upcoming Christmas horror film "Krampus" starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. So what exactly is Krampus?
Krampus is a mythical creature, according to National Geographic. The name Krampus comes from the German word "krampen," which means claw. Krampus is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology, but also shares similarities from Greek mythology including satyrs and fauns. He is also known as the "Christmas Devil" and was created in contrast to the jolly man known as St. Nicholas.
During Christmas time, Krampus is said to punish children who have misbehaved by whipping them with birch branches, according to Bustle. The dark creature even has its own day, Dec. 5, the eve of St. Nicholas in parts of Europe, according to Mental Floss. The modern take on Krampus, or "Krampuslauf," involves drunk men dressed as devils who overtake the streets for a run where people are chased through the streets by the so-called devils.
The myth of Krampus has not always been welcomed into mainstream culture. The Catholic Church suppressed the celebrations on Dec. 5 during World War II because it was considered a creation of the Social Democrats. While the legend of Krampus has been suppressed in the U.S., the upcoming film "Krampus" has brought the legend back into the light.
"Krampus" opens in theatres on Dec. 4.
Check out the trailer for the film below.