Krampuslauf in München 2012! It was freezing cold, very loud and very scary. I got playfully assaulted by a scary spirit (as it should be), the wind was howling and the snow was coming down, courtesy of Frau Holle (I can only presume.) Due to the cold and snow, my camera went on strike very quickly. Alas!
From Wikipedia: "The history of the Krampus figure stretches back to pre-Christian Germanic traditions. He also shares characteristics with the satyrsof Greek mythology. The early Catholic Church discouraged celebrations based around the wild goat-like creatures, and during the Inquisition efforts were made to stamp them out. However, Krampus figures persisted, and by the 17th century Krampus had been incorporated into Christian winter celebrations by pairing them with St. Nicholas.”
I really, really love mid-winter traditions of pagan origin. They’re way cool.