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Check the Claim: Do these countries celebrate Christmas with a monster named Krampus?

SKILL: Check the Claim

DIFFICULTY: Simple

SUBJECT(S): Pop Culture

Students will use a keyword search to learn that some places in Central and Eastern Europe celebrate the holidays with this scary creature from old folklore.

Background

Krampus comes from the folklore of alpine regions of Eastern and Central Europe. He is said to be a creature that frightens or punishes misbehaving children during Advent. Often depicted as a monster figure who is part goat, he is the evil counterpart to Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved children with gifts and treats. 

Many regions celebrate this tradition with parades or “Krampus runs,” where people dress up in scary costumes and try to frighten onlookers.



About the Example

You’ve probably heard of naughty children getting a lump of coal in their stockings, but according to Alpine folklore, some children have it much worse.

This Instagram reel claims that some places in Austria and Germany celebrate Christmas with Krampus, “a hairy horned devil who punishes and kidnaps bad children.”  

We can check this creepy claim using a keyword search (“Austria Germany celebrate Krampus”). Here we find sources like The Washington Post and National Geographic confirming that this tradition is celebrated with parades and costumes in parts of Germany and Austria.

Note: If you can’t access Instagram at your school or you want to avoid students seeing potentially inappropriate comments, you can access the video clip here, hosted on the CTRL-F YouTube channel.



Activities

  1. Show students the reel, and ask them to summarize the claim that the video makes.
  2. Have students check the claim using a keyword search (“Austria Germany celebrate Krampus”).
  3. Ask students to select the “news” tab at the top of the search results page to filter for news organizations.
  4. The top results should include sources like The Washington Post and National Geographic. Have students click on the Washington Post article, and read the first section on Krampus. Guiding questions:
    • Is the claim mostly true, mostly false or something else? Explain your reasoning.
    • What additional context did you learn about this story by reading the Washington Post article?


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