KRAMPUSLAUF PHILADELPHIA: PARADE OF SPIRITS
Philadelphia, PA: The fifth annual Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits is set to take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at Liberty Lands Park in Philadelphia. Gathering time begins at 3:00 with the parade setting off just before sunset.
Krampuslauf Philadelphia began as a grassroots event in 2011. Founder Amber Dorko-Stopper states, “My original purpose in creating Krampuslauf Philadelphia was to experiment with grassroots folkloric festivals within the community. I started out without a community to do it in, and so everything I hoped Krampuslauf would be -- having never been to a "real" one in Austria or Germany -- was based around what I would want to see and participate in with my then three year-old children.”
As such, Krampuslauf Philadelphia is a very family-friendly event. The rhythm of the event is echoes numerous cultures. Says Dorko-Stopper, “Also, because my children are both children of color -- my son was born in South Korea, my daughter is African-American -- I gave a lot of thought to ancestral heritages and what I could do to evoke "monsters" of all cultures in one event, as it became clearer to me that anywhere that winter was cold, there was, in almost every nation, a "monster" of winter, who often had horns, and often had bells. The undercurrent of universal language was there and I appreciated being able to tap into it without guilt or fear. It was amazing to suddenly be getting letters from Austrians, telling me how our Krampuslauf looked more like Austria's had in years past -- less like the Krampus events held there today, and how our homemade ethic and spirit of working together without boundaries was appreciated.”
Dorko-Stopper has also welcomed the presence of the Pagan community. The Heathen Contingent for Krampuslauf Philadelphia every year presents themes or characters that align with the multicultural presentation of the event. German, Austrian, Pennsylvania German, Manx, Scottish, and Irish characters have a regular presence at the event.
Tucker Collins, an organizer and leader of the event, says, ”My favorite part of the event is being able to observe the way people come together, and what they bring of themselves to that event. Getting to see how people choose to express themselves through their costuming. Some people attend wholly in character, some come with serious demeanors and others with jest. I love seeing the broadening of cultures represented there, and the increasing personalization of the event for its participants. You don't have to know where you are going or what you want to do when you choose to start, and creativity can flow from there. It probably is interesting to people that see us passing, but the procession is something we do for ourselves as a community.
In order to help to increase the participation and this expression of self in the event, Dorko-Stopper and Collins arrange for periodic opportunities throughout the year for the community to learn to make their own masks or decorations for the event.
From the Heathen perspective, the Parade of Spirits is a depiction of the Wild Hunt. Dorks-Stopper is widely known by the moniker of Frau Perchta, a most appropriate title given her role in the organization of the event. This year, the parade will again be led by Gedreier Eckhart (Loyal Eckhart), the man of Pennsylvania German and German lore who was sent ahead to alert humanity of the Wild Hunt’s impending arrival.
The community is encouraged to don shadow side costumes and to join the Parade of Spirits! Oh, and bring a noisemaker!
ROBERT L. SCHREIWER
DELAWARE VALLEY PAGAN NETWORK
Krampuslauf Philadelphia 2015: Parade of Spirits begins and ends in Liberty Lands Park in Philly. Gathering time can start as early as 3:00, but most folks come closer to 4:00. The parade begins at just about sundown (4:35 PM). Folks are encouraged to be in costumes that reflect the time of the year and to bring noisemakers. We still need volunteers to help with traffic. :)