The Krampus or Christmas Devil is a helper to St. Nick (more on St. Nick in tomorrow's Santa post) in the Alpine countries. The Krampus is celebrated during the Krampusnacht (Night of the Krampus) the eve of St. Nicholas day (Dec 6th) where men in devil costumes caper through the streets holding torches demanding the traditional gift of schnapps of those they meet. The Krampus looks remarkably like the God Pan, the Grecian Woodland deity who was the Church's model for Satan, and major figure in the Roman Pagan Winter Solstice festival Saturalia. During the Saturalia slaves in Saytar or animal masks and baring torches ran through the streets of Roman demanding wine from their social betters and beating bad masters with switches. They sound very similar don't they? Its not surprising then that the Krampusnacht is traditionally celebrated in northern Italy and the Alpine regions of Austria & Germany the very regions where Roman Pagan and Pagan Germanic traditions coexisted in pre-Christian times.
(Please note the Fiends in Waistcoats do NOT approve of San Fransisco hipsters co-opting Krampusnact and turning it into yet another drunken frat party!)