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Sparifankerl-Pass ABCs

Little Lexicon of Krampus and Perchten Customs

Many terms regarding the devilish cult figures and traditions from the Alps were almost forgotten. Here is an incomplete overview.

Habergeiß
These demon creatures took the form of birdmen, known in Upper Austria and Styria as another companion of St. Nicholas.

Klaubauf
This Krampus variation was known in East Tyrol. They threw pedestrians to the ground and then again „aufklauben“ or picked them up.

Krampus also: Kramperl
Devilish cult figures that accompany the holy St. Nicholas on the 6th of December, in order to punish the wicked and naughty. Plural: Krampusse. Probably derived from Kramp = claw.

Krampus-Lauf
Traditional custom in Austria and Bavaria to protect against evil spirits.

Larven
Term for the mostly demonic looking carved masks of the Krampus performers. Made of linden, stone pine or alder wood.

Nikolo
Slang for St. Nicholas.

Percht
Female companions of Krampus. Regarded as the guardian of holidays and days of rest. Founder of the Percht custom, which is dedicated to the 6th of January.

Sparifankerl
Munich dialect for „Devil“.

Pass
Austrian for „Group“.

Stampern
An element of the Krampus Runs. Refers to chasing and scaring mostly female viewers, who are then „punished“ with a rod.