Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Devil Worship' In Austria

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Devil Worship' In Austria Folklore Beast

Does a video show "devil worship" in Austria? No, that's not true: The event is a Krampus parade, which is based on the folk tale of Krampus, a mythological beast who punishes poorly behaved children at Christmas time. His partner is St. Nicolas, who delivers healthy food to good children on December 5, according to legend, while Krampus delivers a beating to badly behaved children.

The claim appeared in a video published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on December 7, 2023 (archived here). It opened:

Devil worship in the streets of Austria. They celebrate evil as if it is good.

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-12-11 at 9.27.12 AM.png

Twitter screenshot

(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon Dec 11 19:20:40 2023 UTC)

The video on X is from a video posted on TikTok (archived here) that includes hashtags #krampus, #austria and #traditional. It shows a Krampus parade in Salzburg, Austria, which, according to Britannica (archived here), is a "krampuslauf":

Festivities involving Krampus include the Krampuslauf ('Krampus run'). In this activity, which often involves alcohol, people dressed as the creature parade through streets, scaring spectators and sometimes chasing them. Beginning in the late 20th century, amid efforts to preserve cultural heritage, Krampus runs became increasingly popular in Austria and Germany.

According to legend, Krampus is associated with Christmas time:

The creature and St. Nicholas are said to arrive on the evening of December 5 (Krampusnacht; 'Krampus Night'). While St. Nicholas rewards nice children by leaving presents, Krampus beats those who are naughty with branches and sticks. In some cases, he is said to eat them or take them to hell. On December 6, St. Nicholas Day, children awaken to find their gifts or nurse their injuries.

The Smithsonian magazine (archived here) explains the parade "resurrects a centuries-old tradition:

Lienz' annual Krampus Parade, also known as Perchtenlauf or Klaubaufe, resurrects a centuries-old tradition: Young men in town dress up as the mythical creature and parade through the streets in an ancient pagan ritual meant to disperse winter's ghosts.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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