Surrounded by mountains, located in the western Austria, ski resort of Innsbruck is preparing to the opening of the season, which will be held on November 30. According to the ancient tradition at the same time there will be held the opening of the Christmas fair and will take place the "Krampuslaufen" parade (literally Krampus race). Mythical character of Krampus (from the German “Krampen”-claw) is represented as hairy demon with long horns and claws. Legends of Krampuses delve back to pagan times and were tied with the advent of winter and the decrease in daylight hours. They were spread in the territory of modern Austria, Germany, Hungary and northern Italy. However, with the advent of Christianity and after long time attitude towards Krampus changed dramatically. Currently, Krampus, though appears in a terrible and wicked form is still a character of the Christmas holidays. Now, Krampus is the antipode of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus), and therefore in different shows these characters act together. But if St. Nicholas brings children sweets and gifts, the Krampus puts black coal, and he can lash or cow the naughtiest children.
Krampuslaufen is celebrated in many Austrian cities, but the most colorful and massive form of this celebration is held in Innsbruck. As darkness fell on the central streets of the resort there are plenty of people dressed in animal skins and scary mask with horns and fangs. Very often they are hung with chains, cow bells and other "noisy" iron pieces, mummers entertain the passers-by, frighten children on the streets and create maximum noise and confusion, which, incidentally, looks pretty funny.
The provincial capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, is located in a beautiful place where the river Sill flows into the Inn River, which is often called "the heart of the Alps". Its worldwide popularity Innsbruck received after the 1964 and 1976 ski competitions of the Olympic Winter Games. Now around the city are located seven popular areas for skiing and snowboarding, including the Stubai Glacier, where everything is made for downhill skiing.