Devils’ day in Sterzing/Vipiteno

Where infernal creatures go on a rampage..

Glowing eyes on faces painted black: the devils (“tuifl” in South Tyrolean dialect) run in the crowd, screaming and roaring, scaring children and teenagers that tease them on purpose. At night the show goes on, to frighten the less brave ones among the crowd. They are the “Krampus”: according to an ancient tradition they are horrific creatures with black fur that walk on Earth alongside Saint Nikolas. Faithful but impatient servants, they will never leave his side, unless they are told to punish the bad ones by beating and scaring them. This tradition roots back to the ancient times, when the purpose was to chase away the bad spirits. Every year in the city of Sterzing/Vipiteno the traditional Saint Nikolas parade takes place at night, starting from 18.00, in a magical and exciting atmosphere. Saint Nikolas, very busy the whole day in visiting the houses where children wait for him, is always accompanied by his “Tuifl”. The infernal parade walks through the city center and reaches the Tower, from where one of the devils climbs down. In the end, the good always wins: the saint, together with the good children, sends the evil back to hell.

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