Bene and D’Bommera
Bene is actually an aspiring architect. However, during the time leading up to Christmas he swaps his drawing pencil and hard hat for a traditional alpine uniform.
If Bene had to build the Krampusse a new house, he would know exactly how it should look: it would have to be a house made from earth located in a solitary part of the forest. It would have to have a tall entrance so that they could enter with their huge deer antlers. Everything also has to be round. There should be no corners and no edges that may cause them to hurt themselves. This is because a Krampus can’t see very well through its mask made out of fur.
‘Children don’t need to be frightened of me.’
However, the Krampus’s main acts do not take place at the kindergarten but in front of the wintry backdrop of the villages in the valley. Several dozen of them assemble during the first weekends of December and ring in the advent period surrounded by bonfires. The thinking behind what is known as the Advent E’Lüüta primarily focuses on the social aspect. It is meant to present an opportunity for local people to relax and meet for a chat at what is known locally as a Hängert (hang-out) with their acquaintances before the stress of the upcoming winter season descends. Any funds that are raised during these events are donated to the local kindergartens.
‘I also used to be a cheeky little monster’
Jumping and Chasing
The original purpose of Krampus Driving was to ward away evil spirits during the hours of darkness. It is difficult to believe that this custom was only started in Kleinwalsertal 60 to 80 years ago when it migrated over from the Allgäu region. The Walser Krampusse have since then developed their own traditions and style of clothing. This is a tradition which Bene and d’Bommera want to keep alive into the future. It involves travelling from house to house to visit children and old people which is an activity that unites the local people. Bene is not a big fan of the chasing part of the proceedings. There is something else that is more important to him. ‘When a small child places his dummy in my hand, it doesn’t matter how much this time of the year is draining away my energy. This makes up for all the stress!’