“Yet in recent years the Krampus has developed to become an altogether very modern bogeyman, with a rising number of complaints about the demons acting in a drunkenly and disorderly fashion once they have donned their fearsome masks…..According to Peter Wiesflecker, a historian of Austrian culture and customs, the spike in the number of complaints can be explained by how the cult of the Krampus has evolved into a mass spectacle.”
My first reaction is that Krampus is supposed to be scary and disruptive. I hate seeing these traditions so watered down that it becomes just a festive parade without the underlying unnerving quality or tapping into deep fears about the perils of winter and the creatures that lurk in the dark.
That all being said, mumming should not just be an excuse for drunken and destructive antics. I can see why, especially in the current social climate, it might become just that – but I hope they succeed in nipping that in the bud, because it will only lead to crackdowns on these old and important customs. More work needs to be done, it seems, to channel high emotions and energy into meaningful expression. Mumming is indeed primal and dark, but it shouldn’t be more than symbolically violent. Ultimately, it is a collective catharsis, but that means that the community needs to be part of that experience, not a victim of it.