Gruß vom Krampus

Krampus - Austrian Christmas tradition

I’ve written about Krampus before, Austria’s Christmas Devil who terrifies children into behaving. Another thing I’ve learnt more recently is that on this day (December 5th), it used to be common to post a secret card to someone you admired… kind of like an unofficial Valentine. In fact, the cards were free to send, with the recipient paying postage when it arrived.

This tradition was known as a Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from Krampus) and was often humerous. Now… from what I can tell the Krampus was a bit of a dirty old man. And the older cards seem a lot darker with more sexual overtones (just my opinion). Now, I know that Google is not the best translator, and when it comes to sayings, even worse, but when I plugged in some Krampus greetings I found online, I came up with hilarious translations. Note of course that the correct translations could be quite different.

This one, for example, seems quite nice:

Ich bin verliebt bis über beide Ohren, ich hab mein Krampusherz an dich verloren!
I’m head over heels in love, I lost my Krampus heart to you!

This one is debatable:

Die schlimmen Mädchen straf ich mit der Rute, die braven aber küss ich – auch dich, du Gute!
I punish the bad girls with a rod, but I kiss the good ones – you too, you good one!

And then there are these which definitely do not translate well!

Allerhand hört man von dir, das kostet Strafe – komm zu mir!
One hears all sorts of things about you, that costs punishment – come to me!

Mäderl – ruck, ruck, ruck – an meine schwarze Seite!
Girl – jerk, jerk, jerk – to my black side!

I’m not sure how I’d feel about receiving something like that from someone who supposedly admired me, but hey, each to his own. These days it seems that the greetings have all but died out. Though it’s still very common to receive a baked Krampus or a sweet treat on this day… in fact my mother in law delivered mine just a few days ago!


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