Krampus Night (Krampus Nacht)
In Southern Bavaria, an alternative to St. Nicholas’ Night is celebrated. Krampus and his buddies, the scary muscular demonic-looking men in hairy costumes and devilish masks go from house to house, while banging on doors, welcomed in by parents so that they can scare the kids into being good. Occasionally, they may drag a teenage male by hands and feet outside.
He might get dunked in the deep snow a couple times to the delight of his younger siblings. Afterward, you might bump into the Krampus and his fellow devils at a local pub celebrating into the wee hours of the night.
Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmärkte)
During Advent, another tradition, Cristkindlmarkts crop up in every major German city. These are Christmas markets where the locals and tourists come to walk around lively beautifully lighted shopping areas. There are food and drink vendors and lots of local arts and crafts to buy.
This tradition began in the 15th century and today, there are more than 2500 across Germany. The food offerings are festive with all sorts of wursts, fried fish on a fresh bread roll (backfisch), sauteed mushrooms, and for dessert there are all sorts of baked items and confections. Today, more American cities are hosting their own Christmas Markets, (see blog on Christkindlmarkts).