It’s not strictly tied to the calendar, but December 5 is a traditional Krampustag (Day of Krampus) in which the creature historically associated with the old Yuletide stories makes his way through European towns and cities engaged in a bit of fun. “Fun” is a word that originally described trickery, quick-footed fooling or some other sort of messing about, and that’s what the Krampus does in his Krampuslauf (run through the town). In this video, Krampus is accompanied by a mob of bell-and-straw-bedecked Buttnmandl:
Americans are increasingly appropriating the image of Krampus in order to subvert the happy-commercial talk of Christmas:
And Philadelphia will be holding its 2nd annual Krampuslauf on December 15 2012:
"KRAMPUSLAUF PHILADELPHIA is a safe, secular, collaborative and noncompetitive event. for an event with monsters and noisemakers, it’s kind of a quiet thing… and it’s a neighborhoody thing, even though we welcome people from wherever they wish to come. it’s a kid-friendly event, and yet certainly has elements that you won’t find at any gymboree… it’s cold, it gets dark, there are monsters!
Rather than an “entertainment” event, krampuslauf is an example of the power of community ritual — a tableau or meditation — a voluntary village coming together briefly to acknowledge the significance, the necessity, of “darkness” in a season that promotes (however forced) cheer and light. it is a work of art and what you bring to it is what makes it what it is. and we don’t know what that will be!"