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Austrian Customs:December 5th, Saint Nicholas Eve is known as Krampus Day in some parts of Austria. Krampus is an evil fertility demon that has a long tail, fur, rattling chain, birch branch, and big black bag. Children and adults go to the village square and throw snowballs to scare him off. Some people dress up as Krampus. A speculatius cookie is baked for the day. Bread baked in the shape of Saint Nicholas or Krampus is for sale. On Saint Nicholas Eve children place their shoes on the window sill or outside their bedroom door to be filled with fruits, nuts, and sweets. (3)

On Saint Nicholas Day the saint appears in a flowing robe and miter with a staff and a book. The Guardian Angels keep track of the good and bad deeds of children in the book. Families gather to see him. He is accompanied by Krampus, who scolds naughty children, but Saint Nicholas drives him away. Each child is called up one at a time and after promising good behavior is awarded with oranges, nuts, sweets, or birch branches decorated with candy. (3)

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