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Beasts in Salzburg

By Linda Tancs

Forget coal in the stocking. In some countries, like Austria, there’s something much more fearsome awaiting children who’ve been more naughty than nice. Coinciding with St. Nicholas Day on December 6, Salzburg celebrates Krampus parades in late November and early December. The Krampus is a legendary creature sporting a hand-carved wooden mask, shaggy pelts and heavy bells. The typical beast is a costumed young man, who roams the streets and scares children who look like they’ve misbehaved. It’s all in good fun, of course, a centuries-old folk custom that has even made its way to America via New Orleans. 

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