BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As we get closer to the holidays, we’re seeing more celebrations and expressions of tradition, but a newer spin on an old legend – Krampus—has found its way to our region and continues to gain more popularity.
Legend has it that Krampus was the assistant to St. Nicholas dating back to the 1400s and 1500s and is finding a new purpose in those holiday traditions.
For over 30 years, Briarwood Presbyterian Church has put on a live nativity.
“It allows us as people to do something, to share this story with others,” Senior Pastor Harry Reeder said. “It’s a great tradition for your family, it’s a great instrument to share with other people the love of Christ and it’s our great privilege to provide this to the community.”
A holiday tradition that recreates 14 scenes utilizing 800 volunteers bringing the birth and life of Christ alive.
Another tradition that has resurfaced more recently – Krampus –seen at Tuesday night’s Christmas parade in Homewood.
Books, Beans and Candles started holiday photo ops with Krampus a few years ago.
“I think it’s a way to take a fun approach to things that are non-traditional,” shop reader Tracy Watts said. “He would show up and if the kids were bad, you would either leave them coal or he would switch them with his birch switches, the switches he carries around are always birch, or he would stuff them in his bag and take him home. The traditions vary from village to village.”
An alternate way to celebrate the season –folklore has it that Krampus comes the night of December 5th before St. Nicholas on December 6th.
“It’s that counterculture and it has just that different side and I think that just really intrigues people and is another tradition that people really enjoy bringing to their families because they’re pretty excited when they come in,” Books, Beans and Candles Owner Mitchell Hagood said.
But a reminder to not forget the reason for the season.
“I love for families to develop traditions, but Christmas is not simply a tradition, it’s a historical reality of the love of God manifested in his son,” Reeder said.
Briarwood will continue to host its live nativity for the next two nights. Atrox in Leeds’ Dark Side of the Holidays will happen again this weekend featuring Krampus if you’re looking to meet him and learn more about him.