There are many legends dealing with the time before Christmas. For example, legend has it that during these damp nights, demonic beings roam about, and in order to ward them off, people often burn incense in their homes.

On one of these nights in Grödig in Salzburg Province, a unique event, known as the Wilde Jagd, or Wild Hunt, takes place. On that night, twelve mysterious figures dash about town, driving evil and misfortune from the local houses.

A more pleasant tradition involves St. Nicholas, who, according to history, was a particularly kindhearted bishop. Even today, St. Nicholas distributes small presents to good children.

Careful, though, he is often accompanied by his not so kindly counterpart, Krampus, who is there to punish those children who have not been so well behaved.

Guests will find the traditional Christmas markets and pageants to be well worth a visit.

Krampus celebrations  in Grödig and St. Leonhard

A typical custom in the Salzburg region is the celebration of Krampus in the season of Advent. During this celebration, young men dress as the demons and cover their faces with decoratively carved masks. Said to be the counterpart to St. Nicholas, Krampus is a devilish figure who comes not to reward good children, but to punish the naughty ones instead. As part of the festival, these Krampus figures move through the village, mostly accompanied by St. Nicholas. 

Each year, guests from around the world are surprised and thrilled by the Krampus figures. The Grödig Krampus group has 40 members and has been around since 1982. As these devilish figures parade through the village of Grödig, they ring large and heavy bells, letting their presence be known far and wide.

There is much to experience and admire in Grödig at the Untersberg, as well as in Salzburg and the many surrounding villages.

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