It’s that time of year – here in Tirol, South Tirol and Bavaria, there is the celebration of the Krampus (devil). This coincides with Christmas celebrations along with characters St. Nicholas and the Christmas Child.
Last year I wrote an article that goes into more details about the Krampus. This is where I attended a Krampus party that was also in Axams (20 minutes drive from the city) and hosted by Krampus crew Tuiflverein Axams .
That show was a collection of many Krampus groups from all over the region. On December 5th 2017, I went and filmed a show of only Krampus’ from Axamer Tuifllauf.
This was a big setup. There was a huge sound system, lighting and pyrotechnics, I’m happy they showed me where not to walk before they started.
The main road going through Axams and Dorfplazt (the centre of the village) was blocked off for the Krampus’ to roam. The stage was in the centre with a traditional house back drop.
Once the 2000 thick crowd lined the streets behind the barriers and firefighters, paramedics and police were at the ready, the show began.
First was the show of the young devils (Jungtuifl). This does not mean the level of horror was low, that’s for sure!
Three kids sat around a table with a Ouija board. The sound system blared out cinematic music with the voices of the children, which they acted along to.
There was a build up and then a big puff of smoke. Music introduced many small devils that came running out of different parts of the stage, including from underneath the table as if coming from hell. The three kids were chased off.
The Krampus kids performed a great show, especially knowing some were as young as four. They all had fun tormenting the crowd up and down the street.
The main Krampus show
The dramatic and pumping music commenced, after a short intro with a father and son sitting centre stage talking together at the traditional hut.
Krampus’ ran in from all areas, some came on a cart pulled by an ancient tractor, some travelled in other ways, such as flying through the sky with smoke and flares (assisted by a crane hiding behind the trees).
Along with the story and the choreographed actions, the Krampus intimidated the crowd. They did get up close and personal, but it’s all in good scary fun. The crowd cheered, screamed, clapped and ultimately had a great time being entertained by this Christmas tradition!
The costumes were very impressive. The masks, usually carved from wood, cost about €700 upwards, so a whole outfit probably runs into the thousands. The Orc style masks were my favourite.
A highlight for me was the firing of a canon (blank of course), which sent shockwaves through Axams.
At the end, all Krampus’ paraded through the streets, with and without their masks where the crowd cheered some more and had the opportunity to take some photos with them.
Entrance was free, they just asked for donations.
I want to go next year!
The show was absolutely fantastic, I wasn’t expecting such a high level production, not just the show itself, but also the story telling. It could easily be part of a show at Disney World or Universal Studios in Florida. I really enjoyed it, well done to all involved.
Yes, it is pretty intense and scary, but exciting and entertaining at the same time. It is fun for the whole family.
All photos taken from the video © Ashley Wiggins