This past weekend, more than 20,000 people turned up for the fourth annual Krampus Kaplice festival in Southern Bohemia.
Who is Krampus? He’s a horned devil-like creature of Alpine folklore who punishes wicked children during the Christmas season. On Krampusnacht (December 6), Krampus prowls the streets of Austrian villages and other regional areas.
Krampus has experienced a surge in worldwide popularity in recent years, and even stars in his own Hollywood movie, now playing in Prague cinemas.
While not a traditional Czech figure, Krampus is comparable to the devils that prowl the streets paired with angels on Mikuláš night.
Given Kaplice’s proximity to Austria and historical connections to the region, it has become host for one of the world’s largest Krampus celebrations, occurring the weekend after Krampusnacht.
At this year’s festival, more than 400 actors in elaborate costumes, mostly coming from Austria and Germany, portrayed Krampus for a lengthy street festival.
Terrifying photos from the event taken by Matej Divizna for Getty Images were picked up by The Guardian, Huffington Post, and Mashable, among other outlets, and have quickly spread through the web. Check out the full gallery at Mashable.
Here’s a YouTube video from this year’s fest compiled by Aleš Toman: