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Devils of three lands storming north-western town

Kranjska Gora, 24 November - Devils from three lands will storm the north-west tonight, as more than 450 folklore figures are to gather for a traditional meet in the village of Podkoren near Kranjska Gora in the evening.

A Krampus.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The gathering of devils from the tri-border between Slovenia, Austria and Italy has become a start-of-the-winter tradition in Podkoren and will soon "reach a new milestone", according to the head of the Kranjska Gora Tourism Board, Blaž Veber.

He told the STA that more than 450 traditional holiday-season figures from 25 groups would gather in the village tonight.

Devil or Krampus is a horned figure, often described as half-goat, half-demon, which follows St. Nicholas in the holiday season.

In folklore, they punish children who misbehave as a counterweight to St. Nicholas, who rewards those who have behaved well in the holiday season.

As per tradition the devils will run amok on the streets of the village tonight, making as much ruckus as possible.

The Kranjska Gora event is aimed at preserving cultural heritage and the tradition of creating masks.

Groups from Slovenia's Gorenjsko, Austria's Carinthia and Italy's Friuli regions keep the tradition alive by creating masks, which take almost an entire year to prepare.

The origin of a Krampus can be discerned by their garb: those from Gorenjsko usually wear furs and horns, while those from across the border can be distinguished by masks carved from linden wood.

It is believed that the tradition stems from pre-Christian times, when people believed that souls of the dead returned to the land of the living before the winter solstice.

© STA, 2017