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From: 2013.12.05 To: 2013.12.05
While the Innsbruck ski village of Igls offers a rather typical Christmas market to visitors complete with folkloric ornaments and gifts as well as hot mulled wine, locals have also preserved the December 5th tradition of "Krampus" night. This is a tradition that stems from the Middle Ages when the evil fertility monster accompanies Saint Nicholas to punish children who were not good during the year. Generally, most villagers try and scare away the Krampus, while others dress up as them, streaking through villages in claws and horns. While the name is debated, most agree the word is derived from the Old German "claw." Whatever the case, to this day, young men get a kick out of dressing in black sheep fur and donning red wooden masks and scaring people with jingling chains and claws. The night is part insight into a pagan tradition that has survived eons, and part Halloween in December, all in all a regional rite has stayed alive and well.